Actions must follow words
Last month, readers of the Montreal Gazette may have come across the story of Payman, an 11 year-old Iranian boy whose official adoptive parents became permanent residents of Canada in 2014.
The problem is, Payman is still stuck in Iran, vulnerable and without the love and security of his adoptive parents close by.
Let’s rewind a bit. When he was just six years old, Payman was wandering the streets of Tehran without a parent or guardian. His clothes were tattered and he had little to no formal education. Azam Jabbari came across him and, before too long, began the process of adopting him, a process that has since been completed.
After becoming a Canadian permanent resident, Jabbari applied to sponsor Payman as a dependent child. Under this type of immigration, the application must be approved by both the federal government and the government of Quebec. The federal government is apparently willing to move forward with the application, but the Quebec side of things is floundering. The province has so far been unwilling to issue a Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ, or Quebec Selection Certificate), a necessary step in the process of immigrating to Quebec. Without a CSQ, the application can go no further.
Here is the crux: Quebec does not recognize the adoption of a child if his or her biological parents are still alive and have a “filiation”, or relationship, with the child. The distance between the jurisdictions, geographically and diplomatically, does not help with disproving that such a relationship exists. Quebec laws are obviously not harmonized with Iranian laws, and the Quebec immigration department has told Jabbani that Payman can’t be issued a CSQ. It looked as though a deadline of March 17 to provide the federal immigration department with a CSQ would pass.
But following a news conference held in Montreal shortly before the deadline — in which Québec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir, to his credit, stepped up in public support of a tearful Jabbani — the family was granted an additional three weeks in order for a solution to be found.
In intervening, Quebec’s Immigration Minister took the necessary responsibility, using the power she holds to provide an opportunity for the mess to be sorted out. Ms. Weil said that she “is very sensitive to the situation of vulnerable people, and even more so when it concerns a child.”
Further, her press secretary added that “MIDI analyzes the file in depth and verifies all the legal possibilities available in compliance with our laws, including the Civil Code of Quebec, which defines adoption.”
But it is now time for concrete actions to follow words.