Canadian Senator’s office issued 640 “inauthentic” travel documents to Afghans

Canadian Senator, Marilou McPhedran, issued 640 Canadian travel documents to Afghans in 2021 to escape the Taliban, reports the Globe and Mail.

She says the documents were issued “with the approval of a senior government official.” However, the documents were later declared “inauthentic” by the Canadian Federal Immigration Department and referred to the police for investigation.

The documents were designed to provide Afghans with a safe passage to Kabul airport during August 2021 evacuations.

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Senator McPhedran’s office received two template versions of the documents, visa facilitation letters, from former chief of staff to the defense minister, George Young. 

Afghan-born Maryam Monsef, who was the minister for women and gender equality at the time, was also copied on part of the email exchange with Mr. Young. The travel documents were distributed by consultant Laura Robinson and Senator McPhedran’s office, which added the names of the recipients. 

Senator McPhedran filed an affidavit in Federal Court on behalf of a group of Afghans who are taking the government to court to force it to honour the letters. McPhedran and her lawyers argue that the evidence shows Global Affairs Canada delegated authority to her to issue the letters. 

The complete list of 640 Afghans was submitted to senior staff in the immigration minister’s office in September 2021. However, by mid-September, the government declared it would not honour the Canadian facilitation visa letters. 

In the House of Commons immigration committee, senior Immigration Department officials told MPs that legitimate facilitation letters were sent only by the Immigration and Global Affairs departments, and the purpose of the documents was to ensure people who had already been granted entry to Canada could get to the Kabul airport for their flights. 

Senator McPhedran claimed that she succeeded in saving lives and getting people out of Afghanistan.

The Canadian government says it has resettled 27,870 since August 2021, out of the promised 40,000.