Elizabeth May makes case against deportation for bipolar Vancouver Island man

Publication source: All Points West, CBC

December 24, 2015

Federal Green Party leader Elizabeth May is calling the federal Liberal government to put an end to the former government’s practice of deporting non-Canadian citizens who have “fallen through the cracks.”

Lan Van Heest, who has bipolar disorder, faces deportation from Canada to the Netherlands — a country he left as an infant — for committing a string of crimes. The Federal Court judge on the case reserved judgement today and is expected to deliver his decision in the coming days, May said. Van Heest is currently in custody.

May says she has personally appealed to Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale and Immigration Minister John McCallum to show compassion in Van Heest’s case.

“We have to make the strongest case we can, to the new government, that they break the pattern of allowing people who have fallen through the cracks to be deported.”

Breaking the pattern

May blames ideological motivation for the former Conservative government’s record of deporting people.

“I do think there was an ideological motivation at work with the previous government The idea that they could accumulate a pile of statistics to say look we’ve moved all these illegal people with the inference that these illegal people were somehow a threat to Canada.”

She says Jose Figueroa’s liberation from a the threat of deportation to El Salvador shows that past mistakes can be undone.

“This is something that has only occurred under the previous government,” she said.

Mark Warawa, the Conservative MP for Langley-Aldergrove, said he spent years asking his own government to let Figueroa stay in Canada. He gives credit to the Liberals for granting Figueroa’s wish to move freely in Canada.

“On issues like this, they’re non-partisan. We work together,” he said.