Feds' goal is to have Afghan interpreters on planes to Canada
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the federal government's goal is to have Afghans who assisted Canada and now face dangers on planes out of the war-torn country as quickly as possible.
Freeland responded today to criticism after the Immigration Department released an application form for eligible Afghans to fill out within just 72 hours, a timeline which it walked back later yesterday.
She told reporters in Lakefield, Ont., that the government's desire is to move ``very, very quickly'' with the process, and that sense of urgency is what has driven its approach, rather than any attempt to restrict anyone from coming.
Last week her government announced new immigration measures for what it described as potentially ``several thousand'' Afghans, including interpreters who worked with the Canadian Armed Forces, staff currently or previously employed at the Canadian Embassy and their families.
The measures, although light on details, followed growing concern within Canada's veterans' community after the sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan emboldened the Taliban to ramp up its offensive and exact revenge on those who helped western forces.
Veterans and interpreters have criticized the rollout of the new measures, saying that an Adobe Acrobat application form published in English makes little sense in a country with low literacy and patchy internet, and that calls to the immigration minister's office have been met by answering machines.