Manitoba ‘missing out’ on Ukrainian influx: MP
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 02/04/2022 (428 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
OTTAWA — Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux is rallying Winnipeggers to figure out how to welcome more displaced Ukrainians to Manitoba, which he fears is being outpaced by its peers.
“I do believe that we’re missing out,” he told the Free Press. “There is so much goodwill in Manitoba that we need to capitalize on.”
Lamoureux is holding a Sunday evening forum to figure out how Manitobans can help Ukrainian citizens fleeing Russia’s invasion, such as by launching a publicity campaign or pooling money for charter flights.
His concern stems from constituents wanting to help resettled Ukrainians but not finding any who have reached the keystone province.
Two weeks ago, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Manitoba branch said 157 Ukrainians had contacted the organization’s website for information on moving to the Prairie province, as of March 15. Meanwhile, 700 people offered to the group to open up their homes to Ukrainians, up until the group stopped taking offers because so many had flooded in.
On March 28, Manitoba Immigration Minister Jon Reyes said only 25 Ukrainians are on their way to the province with help from his department, with another 100 in touch with officials.
“The only people we’re really getting in Manitoba are those where there’s a direct family connection,” Lamoureux argued.
The Liberals have launched an accelerated temporary residence program that allows displaced Ukrainian citizens to live in Canada for up to three years. The program sidesteps some of the cumbersome paperwork that a visa involves, but it appears applications are taking longer to process than Ottawa’s two-week target.
Manitoba has the largest percentage of Canadians who claim Ukrainian roots. But it doesn’t appear to be at the forefront of resettlement efforts.
Last month, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced it is opening an office in Poland to help Ukrainians move to the East Coast region.
Prominent Edmontonians pooled funds to charter a flight to take Ukrainians from Poland directly to the Alberta city. However, paperwork issues meant only 60 arrived on the March 28 flight.
Lamoureux pondered whether it’s time to start organizing chartered flights to Winnipeg or set up an information booth at the city airport about opportunities in Manitoba.
“We don’t have any direct flights coming from Warsaw to the city of Winnipeg,” he said. “If I have to pay someone to sit at the international airport in Toronto; I’m prepared to do that; I’ll come up with the money.”
The Liberal MP stressed he is not criticizing the provincial Stefanson government. The PCs said early in the crisis they want to welcome Ukrainians and has tasked its migration council will facilitating that.
The virtual meeting takes place Sunday at 7 p.m.; those interested can register by emailing email@example.com.
Updated on Sunday, April 3, 2022 9:27 AM CDT: Fixes typo.