Author Topic: Afghan Interpreters, Others Fast-tracking to Canada  (Read 48970 times)

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Online jollyjacktar

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Re: Canada to welcome hundreds of Afghan employees
« Reply #25 on: May 05, 2009, 10:12:21 »
The Terps that I work with on a daily basis are all in a lather over this.  Some of these guys I believe could easily come home and make the adjustment to life in Canada with minimal culture shock.  Some of the others not so much.  Still, they have paid dues to us by their past and present service.  This is a right thing to do and about bloody time.  I hope that some of them get the nod.

Offline MCG

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Re: Canada to welcome hundreds of Afghan employees
« Reply #26 on: May 05, 2009, 12:00:47 »
If the article's title is correct and it is "hundreds" then this may actually be a disservice to Afghanistan and run counter to some of our objectives (As stated in the article, Afghanistan cannot afford for us to export too significant a number of its "educated, liberal, English-speaking people").

However, if the program is aimed at tens/dozens (even into the several tens & dozens) then I do not see any harm.

Offline George Wallace

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Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2009, 11:34:12 »
How does this bring stability to Afghanistan?

 
Quote
Ottawa to open doors to local Afghan workers
TheStar.com September 15, 2009 Bruce Campion-Smith Ottawa Bureau Chief
 Article Link

OTTAWA–They are privy to some of military's sensitive strategies in Afghanistan, face death alongside Canadian troops and now will be offered safe haven in Canada.

The federal government is prepared to open its doors to hundreds of Afghan citizens who have worked alongside Canadian soldiers and diplomats in Afghanistan.

The initiative recognizes that Afghans often face risks and reprisals from insurgents as a result of assisting Canadians in the war-torn country.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney will announce the program today as Ottawa releases a report card on its military and development efforts in Afghanistan.

The first choice has been to resettle Afghans and their immediate families in other parts of Afghanistan. But when that's not possible, the federal government will move them to Canada.

In this country, they will be given many of the same benefits as refugees – income support and health care – and be put on the path to obtaining Canadian citizenship.

Canadians in Afghanistan rely heavily on local workers in the camps and as interpreters.
More on link


This is freaking madness.  We are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in sending troops and equipment, Police advisors, Corrections Canada advisors, NGOs, OGAs, aid, etc. to Afghanistan attempting to bring stability to the Region.  The very people we are helping and benefiting and are our hope to continue this work after we are gone, are these very people Jason Kenny now wants to bring to Canada.  This makes absolutely no sense.  We are bringing people from a different culture, society, education, and religion out of their native land, where they can continue to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation, here to Canada where not only they will have a serious case of culture shock, but be placed on Welfare Rolls, probably in a ghetto, all at the Taxpayers expense.  This is sheer madness.









 





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Offline Shec

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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #28 on: September 15, 2009, 11:42:28 »
Is this evidence of a defeatist mentality?   Conjures up memories of the last flights out of Saigon.  I realize that our combat role is programmed to end in 2011 but that does not mean we're raising the white flag.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 11:45:11 by Shec »
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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2009, 11:48:29 »
We are bringing people from a different culture, society, education, and religion out of their native land, where they can continue to contribute to the rebuilding of their nation, here to Canada where not only they will have a serious case of culture shock, but be placed on Welfare Rolls, probably in a ghetto, all at the Taxpayers expense.

I'm looking forward to more details:  are they talking interpreters and low-level folks/"fixers", or cops/soldiers/bureaucrats?  In the case of the former, there might be some cases where they have no future once the folks they helped leave, but in the case of the latter, what GW said....

How does this bring stability to Afghanistan? .... This is sheer madness.
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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2009, 11:50:20 »
Yeah, I mean it's not like they're Russians, or Chinese, or Philippinos, or Indians.  You know, those immigrants who are instinctively tuned in to Canadian culture and blend in seamlessly without forming their own communities.
Apparently, a "USUAL SUSPECT"

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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #31 on: September 15, 2009, 11:51:32 »
When the West declares victory and goes home, and Afghanistan reverts to its traditional warlordism (everyone expecting a Jeffersonian democracy to take root before 2011, please raise your hand) many who supported the NATO troops will be identified as traitors and targetted for elimination.

On the moral plane, what do we owe those who supported us and worked for us?  "Thanks for coming out, sucks to be you."?  Or do we offer them an opportunity to leave with us?

Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination for some of the reasons George mentions.  I would strongly suggest that the "ghettoes and welfare rolls" is not the probable result; most first and second generation immigrants have a tremendous work ethic (particularly compared to some of their slovenly XXth generation Canadians confreres, suckign at the teat of public support from generation to generation) and contribute well to Canadian society.


Basic question:  Do we abandon those who help us?
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A bit more detail....
« Reply #32 on: September 15, 2009, 12:02:42 »
...thanks to a news release just out (highlights mine):
Quote
The Government of Canada will offer special measures to facilitate immigration to Canada for certain local staff who face exceptional risk or who have suffered serious injury as a result of their work for the Canadian government in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.

"There are Afghans who face extraordinary personal risk as a result of their work in support of Canada's mission in Kandahar," said Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. "We commend their bravery to help build a better Afghanistan while recognizing the price that they have paid. Their lives and those of their families may be threatened by insurgents, and some have suffered serious injury and can no longer work. To recognize their contribution, we will offer them special consideration if they wish to relocate to Canada."

The government plans to implement these measures in October 2009. In general, applicants must demonstrate that they face individualized and extraordinary risk or have suffered serious injury as a result of their work with the Canadian government. In addition, the applicant must have worked at least 12 cumulative months in Kandahar in support of the Canadian mission.

Spouses of Afghan nationals killed because of their work with the Canadian government will be eligible. All will have to meet standard immigration requirements, including criminal, medical and security screening. The accompanying dependent children of those who qualify would also be eligible.

Canada's approach is consistent with the objectives of similar programs offered by the United States in Afghanistan and the United Kingdom, Australia and Denmark in Iraq.

Successful applicants will receive health-care coverage under the Interim Federal Health Program as well as resettlement services similar to what is currently offered to government-assisted refugees, including up to 12 months of income support upon arrival in Canada. Applicants may apply under this program until the end of the Canadian combat mission in Kandahar in 2011.
The last part I highlight in yellow because I believe this will "disincent" ANY Afghan from wanting to help Canadians, even if there is even a notional presence left, post 2011.
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #33 on: September 15, 2009, 12:15:28 »
What a can of worms.  Not only is your highlighted portion a fairly damning point, but I beg to question how anyone is going to perform a timely and thorough criminal, medical and security screening that is acceptable to national standards currently in effect?

This is nothing more than a "feel good" political move by not only our politicians, but many other nations (as stated in the articles) to save some face after abandoning the Afghan people.
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(A bit) more info....
« Reply #34 on: September 15, 2009, 12:31:24 »
.... from the backgrounder to the earlier news release:
Quote
The Government of Canada will offer special immigration measures for certain Afghan nationals who have served as local staff in Kandahar province.

To be eligible, the individual must provide evidence of:

    * Extraordinary and individualized risk as a result of employment and contracts in direct support of the Canadian government in Kandahar; OR
    * A non-accidental or non-natural injury, resulting in risk to life or inability to work, due to employment and contracts in direct support of the Canadian government in Kandahar; OR
    * Being the spouse of a local staff member who has suffered a non-accidental or non-natural death due to employment and contracts in direct support of the Canadian government in Kandahar. The accompanying dependent children of those who qualify would also be eligible.

In addition, the local staff member must have at least 12 months of cumulative service with the Canadian government in Kandahar.

A committee of senior Canadian officials from departments active in Kandahar, such as the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces, Public Safety Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, will be put in place to recommend whether the individual meets the selection criteria for participating in this program. If the committee determines that the individual meets the program requirements, the individual will be referred to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for processing and a final immigration decision.

Applicants who qualify for the special measures will also be required to undergo immigration medical screening as well as criminality and security screening by our partners: the Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Those who do not qualify may still apply under existing immigration measures, such as the economic and family classes. Those who don’t meet immigration criteria can request humanitarian and compassionate consideration. Such applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

There are an estimated 300 Afghans who are providing direct support to Canada’s mission in Kandahar and may be at risk. Canada expects that up to 50 principal applicants, plus an average of two immediate family members, totalling 150 people, will be eligible each year. There is no cap, however, on the number of people who may become permanent residents under these measures. The annual cost of implementing the special measures is estimated at $3 million a year and will be funded out of existing departmental budgets. The program will conclude in 2011 to correspond with the scheduled end of Canada’s combat mission in Kandahar.
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Offline Larkvall

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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #35 on: September 15, 2009, 12:34:00 »
I don't think too many of these guys will end up on welfare, but I do agree with George that this does not help to bring stability to Afghanistan. These are the types of people that are needed for Afghanistan to build itself into a proper nation (whatever that means). If it is such a forgone conclusion the country is going to go down the toilet why don't we just pull out now?

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Re: How does this help bring stability to Afghanistan ?
« Reply #36 on: September 15, 2009, 14:18:38 »
When the West declares victory and goes home, and Afghanistan reverts to its traditional warlordism (everyone expecting a Jeffersonian democracy to take root before 2011, please raise your hand) many who supported the NATO troops will be identified as traitors and targetted for elimination.

On the moral plane, what do we owe those who supported us and worked for us?  "Thanks for coming out, sucks to be you."?  Or do we offer them an opportunity to leave with us?

Not ideal by any stretch of the imagination for some of the reasons George mentions.  I would strongly suggest that the "ghettoes and welfare rolls" is not the probable result; most first and second generation immigrants have a tremendous work ethic (particularly compared to some of their slovenly XXth generation Canadians confreres, suckign at the teat of public support from generation to generation) and contribute well to Canadian society.


Basic question:  Do we abandon those who help us?


I'm with dapaterson, point by point. There will be a few short term costs but I do not see how we could offer less.

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Update: Not So Much Progress
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2010, 07:28:36 »
In May 2009, we hear the first hints of something being worked on.

In September 2009, we hear Canada's commitment to act.

In January 2010, the Canadian Press says it's not going as well as one would hope:
Quote
Canadian soldiers might be long gone from Afghanistan before Afghans who risked their lives in support of the mission are ever allowed into Canada.

Nine months after Ottawa promised to expedite immigration applications from those Afghans, the new bureaucratic maze they have to navigate has barely sputtered into existence.

(....)

Applicants must first fill out a form and hand it along with supporting documentation to a third party in Kandahar city - the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency.

The organization then passes approved applications to a "joint referral committee," comprising senior Canadian military and civilian officials at Kandahar Airfield.

The committee does not yet exist.

In a series of email exchanges, Citizenship and Immigration Canada said implementation of the program has been "negatively impacted" by the security situation in Kandahar.

However, it said, the third-party agency was "continuing to provide information and assistance to potential applicants." ....
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Offline ColdNorth

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Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #38 on: May 25, 2010, 18:27:23 »
Found on 680 News Toronto's website.

http://www.680news.com/news/national/article/58973--cda-finally-processing-entry-requests-for-afghan-interpreters-but-few-make-cut


Cda finally processing entry requests for Afghan interpreters, but few make cut

CALGARY - More than a year after Ottawa promised to fast-track immigration applications for Afghan translators a narrow list of applicants who meet the criteria to come to Canada has been compiled.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney originally announced the program for Afghans who face "extraordinary personal risk" in support of Canada's mission to Kandahar.

But out of 114 applications only 25, or roughly 21 per cent, have been approved to come to Canada by the joint committee made up of officials from the departments of National Defence, Foreign Affairs, International Development and Immigration and Citizenship. The committee works in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental agency.

"We're beginning to process some of the approved applications. There was a delay because we need to work as well through the International Organization for Migration and they removed all their staff for security reasons in Kandahar," Kenney said in a recent interview.

"The security situation has made it go slower than I would have liked but we're finally starting to process some of those positive applications and some of those people should be settling in Canada shortly."

Neither Kenney nor officials in his department could say exactly when the successful immigrants, who are allowed to bring along two family members each, would finally be arriving in Canada.

Applicants require 12 months service to the Canadian mission and a recommendation letter from a senior soldier or diplomat. They also need to meet standard immigration criteria such as criminal, medical and security screening before being allowed to come to Canada.

They're not considered refugees, but special immigrants who fall through the cracks of current law. At the time Kenney said he expected "a few hundred'' successful applicants to qualify by the time the mission and the program ends in 2011.

The life of an interpreter who works with the NATO-led mission can be a dangerous one. An unexpected knock, a threatening late-night phone call, or a so-called "night letter'' nailed to the front door — such intimidation tactics are a chilling fact of life for locals who work as translators for the Canadian Forces or federal agencies on the ground in Afghanistan.

Insurgents have gone to gruesome lengths to make an example of locals who work with NATO. In one case, several interpreters' bodies were strung up in a public square and left to rot there for weeks as a lesson to anyone thinking of helping the foreigners.

Both the delay and the low number of interpreters that have so far been approved is a concern to Liberal MP Dan McTeague, the party critic for consular affairs.

"Obviously the time this has taken is painfully slow and certainly an agonizing time for those who have been given assurances that everything would be done at the early stages," said McTeague.

"It's a troubling statistic. One would hope that the numbers do reflect the need and that we are not leaving someone behind unduly who might otherwise suffer as a result of our ability to determine who is legitimate and who isn't."

McTeague said for those who have been working with Canadian efforts going back to 2005, the wait can be seen as "stretching the limits" of what would be considered fast-tracking.

The interpreters — "terps," in military parlance — are vital in the coalition's effort to communicate with most Afghans. By the country's usual standards, it's lucrative work — $600 a month, compared with the national average of just $300 a year. Afghan soldiers, by comparison, make $250 a month.

Many interpreters live and travel full time with Canadian soldiers, helping commanders converse with village elders, politicians or local villagers.
cn

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2010, 11:29:59 »
About friggin time!  I do hope some of the Terps I worked with make it here.  They deserve a chance to live in peace.

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Meanwhile, NLD doesn't seem to be doing much....
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2010, 12:54:47 »
....for their terps - from Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
Quote
The 102 interpreters who have assisted the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan are angry. Although they have risked their lives for the country, the Netherlands has abandoned them. The Americans, by comparison, are allowing their interpreters and translators to apply for visas to travel to the United States.

The Afghan interpreters are not actually permitted to talk to journalists but they don't care any more. With the Dutch leaving the southern province of Uruzgan soon - on 1 August - their contracts have been terminated. They feel they are being forced to return to their families. But that's part of the problem - they complain in interviews with Radio Netherlands Worldwide - they are afraid the enemy will target them – and hence possibly their loved ones too - for working with the "heathens".

(....)

The Dutch defence ministry confirms that all contracts have been "formally ended". It does not feel any responsibility since "they belong to NATO not to the Netherlands". A spokesperson said "We have told our successors, the Americans and Australians, these guys are good translators, take them over. So I think they'll land on their feet."

(....)
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2010, 13:17:12 »
As far as I'm concerned, they should have handed out a Canadian passport to every terp who signed up to work with them. Without terps, the CF is nothing in Afgh, you can't do COIN and you have no HUMINT, all the army can do is shoot people.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2010, 13:23:08 by 40below »

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2010, 14:32:59 »
As far as I'm concerned, they should have handed out a Canadian passport to every terp who signed up to work with them. Without terps, the CF is nothing in Afgh, you can't do COIN and you have no HUMINT, all the army can do is shoot people.

This is not entirely true. We actually had nine years to train soldiers to speak Pashtu/Dari. We were lazy and chose to rely on local national interpreters rather than developing our own language capability to augment them.


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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2010, 14:45:44 »
... but we do send one person a year on a two-year Korean language course so they can go to staff school in Korea.


It's all about priorities, you know...

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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2010, 14:48:36 »
So.....you mean in 40-50 years we will send someone to Afghanistan to learn to speak Pashtu/Dari, but will they have a staff college by then?  :)
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #46 on: August 02, 2010, 07:45:12 »
Latest from the Canadian Press:
Quote
Ottawa's promised fast-track immigration policy for Afghan translators has left many interpreters stuck in the starting-blocks and fearing for their lives.

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney originally announced the program to assist Afghans who face "extraordinary personal risk" because of their support for Canada's mission in Kandahar.

Kenney said he expected "a few hundred" successful applicants to qualify by the time the mission and the program ends next year but as of the end of May only 25 of 114 applications had been approved.

One interpreter, who goes by the name of Mojo to protect his real identity, said he was rejected but doesn't understand what the government means by "extraordinary personal risk."

He said all interpreters helping the mission are considered to be the eyes of NATO and could be killed once Canada pulls out ....
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More on how the Dutch and US deal....
« Reply #47 on: August 04, 2010, 09:58:31 »
....with interpreters (or not) from Radio Netherlands Worldwide:
Quote
The end of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province also means the end of four years’ service for local interpreters. They say they shared the tough experiences of the Dutch and ran major risks too.

They expected more from the departing Dutch. Most, despite any misgivings they have, will be starting work with the United States forces which are taking over from the Dutch in the southern Afghan province. But the interpreters fear their new allegiance will lead to even more hatred from their fellow Afghans. “The Americans give out visas after two years. That’s what I’m pinning my hopes on,” one of them admits.

“I can’t just go back to my village. It’s better not to show my face there. People know I work for the Westerners.”

Dutch members of parliament have been asking questions in the house about the lack of follow-up support for the interpreters. Similar questions were asked after Dutch forces withdrew from Iraq but, says Dutch Labour MP Angelien Eijsink, absolutely nothing was done. The US army, however, does have a programme to take care of local staff who have run risks or may be in present danger.

On leave

There were 102 interpreters working for the Dutch a month ago, but the group is disintegrating fast. Twelve gave up the job when they had to start working with Australian troops. Others have been given completely new jobs, but their former colleagues say they have just disappeared. On Sunday, one interpreter took a plane home. Last week, two others quit, leaving for Kandahar in a heavily armed convoy. Three more who were ‘on leave’ have failed to return.

The remaining 70 are all anxious to secure one of the remaining interpreting jobs with the Dutch following last weekend’s official handover of command in Uruzgan to the US. However, there are only 14 of these ‘Dutch posts’ to be had. The rest have no alternative other than that of joining the Americans.

(....)

The Dutch gave a barbeque for the interpreters last week and handed out certificates for the work they had done, but they had similar testimonials already.

“It’s not that there’s no work for us. We’re in great demand with the various armies here. It’s about the Netherlands not understanding our position. What it’s like for the lads who face danger when they get home. And definitely for those who were wounded while alongside Dutch troops in combat.”
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Tony Prudori
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Terps Getting Boned with Refined Rules?
« Reply #48 on: August 10, 2010, 07:19:59 »
I feel dumb for not having spotted this sooner, but former diplomat Eric Morse highlights how "we're dooming our Afghan helpers" - highlights mine:
Quote
.... A statement obtained by CP from the Minister's Office states that "The applicant must demonstrate that: the threat is directly related to the individual's support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar, or directly related to an immediate family member's support of the Canadian mission in Kandahar; and the threat is greater than the level of risk faced by the many others working for the Canadian government in Kandahar province in general." The sanctimony alone in that statement is stupefying.

The idea that "extraordinary risk" can be quantified -- let alone evaluated -- by an interdepartmental committee of Ottawa-based bureaucrats beggars credulity. It exposes Canada as pettifogging, mean-minded, self absorbed, callous ....

(Sure enough, further down in the article I posted here
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,89135.msg959677.html#msg959677
you find the quote attributed to "the (M)inister's office".)

Note the second half of the quote I highlighted - it appears a terp has to prove he's in MORE danger than anyone else working for Canadians in order to make it onto the fast track.  Interestingly enough, I can't find that nuance in the public information distributed by Canada last year:
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2009/2009-09-15.asp
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2009/2009-09-15.asp
http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/backgrounders/2009/2009-10-30a.asp
I've attached a screen capture of the material in case the links don't work for you.
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Tony Prudori
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Re: Afghan Interpreters to Immigrate to Canada
« Reply #49 on: August 10, 2010, 08:07:15 »
I wonder how this deciding committee would react if we put them under similar threat.......
Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I´m not so sure about the universe