Tsunami in South and South East Asia

January 11th, 2005

The Year 2004 ended on a sour note for humans. The images and numbers coming out of tsunami-ravaged South and South East Asia are starkest in the absence of commentary.

It is in our nature to yearn for something positive from all horrific events and on that level this catastrophe does not disappoint. There has been greatness in the contributions made by people around the world. Doctors, medicine, money and supplies have been flown in from all parts of the globe to help the survivors.

Volunteers are arriving in the affected areas to assist their fellow human beings re-construct shattered property and lives. From a Canadian perspective, this disaster has touched the lives of many of our residents, whose families and friends happened

to be in harm’s way. We have been moved individually and collectively to assist in any way that we can.

The Prime Minister has announced a commitment of $425 million toward relief measures and rehabilitation assistance. Included in this amount is $150 million donated by individuals and groups.

The Department of Citizenship and Immigration has adopted the following measures for visa seekers who have been and continue to be seriously affected:

– Existing Family Class sponsorships will be expedited;

– New Family Class sponsorships will be treated on a priority basis;

– Government processing fees and the Right of Permanent Resident fee will be waived;

The Minister of Immigration is meeting with relevant community service groups in Canada to determine what more can be done. I, too, am making efforts to extend a helping hand by providing pro bono services and donating a portion of my professional fees to UNICEF. My website contains details about how you can participate with me in these efforts.

Blog written by David Cohen on Tuesday, January 11, 2005

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