Canada is opening its doors to thousands of victims of Asia's deadly tsunamis, pledging to expedite immigration requests from disaster-stricken foreigners with relatives in this country.What a direct, hands-on approach to helping people rebuild their lives. This in addition to $45 million, $10 more than the US originally offered.
The move could bring as many as 5,000 newcomers to Canada, according to one estimate, as those left homeless by the disaster call on their Canadian relatives to come to their rescue.
Canadians sponsoring spouses, common-law partners and children who are in disaster-affected areas will be given immediate priority, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada will also consider requests on a case-by-case basis to sponsor other relatives including aunts, uncles and grandparents, said Mark Dunn, spokesman for Immigration Minister Judy Sgro.
"We think it will be most used in Sri Lanka, only because there are many Canadians [of] Sri Lankan descent living here," he predicted. "There is no discussion of a cap on the numbers of relatives who may be sponsored. Things are so fluid, we really don't know how many to expect."
Meanwhile, back at the brush ranch, the US has been embarrassed into multiplying its pledge of aid by ten, to $350 million. South Asia can only hope this pledge materializes more than the federal money that was supposed to help NYC after 9/11. We've still only seen a small fraction of that.