Gaza evacuees question Canada's policy for who it will help evacuate

Plusieurs des hôpitaux de la bande de Gaza n'ont plus d'électricité et sont confrontés à des pénuries de fournitures médicales essentielles au bien-être de populations vulnérables. (Hatem Moussa | AP Photo)

OTTAWA - Some Canadians who escaped the Gaza Strip say Canada's definition of family means they had to make the heartbreaking choice to leave loved ones behind.

Canadian citizen Amro Abumiddain says he would have rather died with his father in Gaza than leave without him, but said he had to get his children out of the territory while he had the chance.

He crossed the border last week after a month of living under constant bombardment, but couldn't bring his father with him because Canada's definition of eligible family members only includes spouses, children and grandchildren.

Abumiddain's cousin Maha Abdelwahed in Halifax says after she was told her parents wouldn't qualify for Canada's list of evacuees in Gaza she saw that others she knows were able to get their family members out even though they also shouldn't have qualified.

Global Affairs Canada did not reply to repeated requests last week seeking clarity on which family members would qualify under Canada's rules.

The Canadian Council for Refugees advocates for a broader definition of family, so people who escape can find refuge with their loved ones in Canada.