Manitoba NDP calls on Manitoba to fast-track Afghan refugees

WINNIPEG — Manitoba’s NDP is calling on the province to immediately help settle Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban-controlled country.

Matt Wiebe, NDP MLA for Concordia, said Tuesday the province has mechanisms in place through the provincial nominee program that could help fast-track refugees looking to come to Canada to find safety.

Musician Sierra Noble said she experienced the confusion around sponsoring someone to come to Canada first-hand. Noble said she’s been trying to bring over a friend and his young family from Afghanistan.

“This is where he has support, and that is the case for so many Afghans right now,” Noble said. “This is the place they need to come because this is where their families are, this is where their supports are.”

Opposition House Leader Nahanni Fontaine said the situation is even more dire for the women and girls trying to escape Afghanistan. She called for the province to invest in settlement services and increase mental health supports for veterans and service members who served in Afghanistan.

In a statement to CTV News, Manitoba Immigration Minister Wayne Ewasko said Afghan refugees will be supported by the federal government.

“First, the situation in Afghanistan is deeply concerning. My ministry and I have a great working relationship with our federal counterpart and discussions on this issue are ongoing,” he said in the statement. “Manitoba has offered any support necessary to assist incoming Afghans and their families to resettle in our province.”

He said the provincial nominee program is primarily an economic program that aims to fill labour market shortages and attract business investors. 

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