Canada to offer temporary relief to travellers stranded by Trump ban

30 January 2017

Canada will offer temporary residency to any traveller stranded by US President Donald Trump's order temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries, a senior official said.

While local and federal Canadian MPs condemned Donald Trump's ban, the Justin Trudeau government has refrained from directly criticising Donald Trump's immigration policies.

Canadian immigration minister Ahmed Hussen told a news conference that he did not know how many people might be eligible, but said only a small number of passengers trying to fly to the United States from Canada had been denied boarding.

Trump's executive order has brought uncertainty to immigrants around the world, including people visiting their home countries, on whether they would be allowed to return to the United States.

"Let me assure those who may be stranded in Canada that I will use my authority as minister to provide them with temporary residency if they need it, as we have done so in the past," Hussen said.

Since the United States accounts for 75 per cent of all Canadian exports, Ottawa preferred to remain silent on the Trump order and instead opted to stress that Canada is open to refugees.

The Canadian Council for Refugees called on the Justin Trudeau government to pull out of its so-called Safe Third Country agreement with the United States, under which Canada returns asylum seekers crossing the US border.

Most politicians in Canada have already condemned Trump's ban. On Sunday, the opposition New Democrats called for an emergency debate in the federal parliament.

Earlier in the day, more than 200 Canadian technology company founders, executives and investors called on Ottawa to immediately give temporary residency to those displaced by Trump's order.

"Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders," the letter said.

Canada is eager to attract skilled tech workers from abroad while also retaining employees and students who are often lured away by global companies. More than 300,000 Canadians work in California's Silicon Valley.

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