This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Preying on the Desperate

"If we had received our immigrant visa as was promised to my father, we could all be living together in Canada now in safety. But this is just a dream that can never come true now."
"We ask for our father's life savings to be returned to us because we and our mother need the money to live and survive without our father, our caretaker."
Jeanine, Sabee, 25, Heilbronn, Germany

"He was given a decision only as a result of his death. The Canadian government, as well as Desjardins and Auray, as agents of the Canadian governments, have benefited and continue to benefit from the investor immigrant program tremendously."
"We urge Desjardins, Auray and the Canadian government to return my uncle's money to his children, as the money is rightfully theirs and they need it to live and survive."
Danielle Assad, Niece, Elias Sabee, Cleveland, Ohio

"We have lost our father, the soul of our family. We are living from the outside, but dead from the inside. You see the many emails that my father sent to the Canadian embassy that were ignored, which haunt me every day."
Michael Sabee

"[It is] unfair and unconscionable [for the parties to profit. If it's not because of the [processing] delay, the family could've been in Quebec now."
"This is a tragic story. I feel Desjardins shouldn't just hide behind the standard contract language. It has the moral responsibility to do the right thing."
Robert Cohen, Sabee family lawyer, Quebec

THE PARTIES HERETO agree on the following matters in order to determine their respective areas of activity relative to immigrants and aliens in order to meet the needs and the particular situation of Québec;
1. This Accord relates to the selection of persons who wish to reside permanently or temporarily in Québec, their admission into Canada, their integration into Québec society, and the determination of levels of immigration to Québec.
2. An objective of this Accord, is among other things, the preservation of Québec’s demographic importance within Canada and the integration of immigrants to that province in a manner that respects the distinct identity of Québec.
3. Canada shall determine national standards and objectives relating to immigration and shall be responsible for the admission of all immigrants and the admission and control of aliens. Canada shall discharge these responsibilities in particular by defining the general classes of immigrants and classes of persons who are inadmissible into Canada, by setting the levels of immigration and the conditions for the granting of citizenship, and by ensuring the fulfilment of Canada’s international obligations.
4. Québec has the rights and responsibilities set out in this Accord with respect to the number of immigrants destined to Québec and the selection, reception and integration of those immigrants
Canada-Quebec Accord, Government of Canada

Quebec has autonomy in immigration within Canada. This represents yet another demand made by Quebec to the federal government in recognition of its 'nation' status. In reflection of what Quebec insists is its unique status as a French-speaking 'nation' within the greater Canadian confederation where the majority language in reflection of its British-heritage roots, is English. The affectation by Quebec is that the province is a 'nation' within a nation; it labels everything 'national' within the province.

And so the controversy that has arisen with the Sabee family's relationship to Quebec's immigration process is uniquely with Quebec, not the Government of Canada, although the Government of Canada could step in to use its influence in the case, the Government of Quebec would consider it an infringement of their autonomous rights on the immigration file.

That the Sabee family has been treated shabbily is without doubt. To begin with, that their application for immigration under the Quebec investor program required a massive investment, and that their application took so unconscionably long to process. And then was rejected on the basis of the reality that given the dangers of living in Syria at the time which Mr. Sabee was so anxious to escape, he was killed, thus making his surviving family ineligible to continue with the application.

Elias Sabee had applied under the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program to bring himself and his family to Canada as landed immigrants prepared to make a sizeable financial investment in Canada, through Quebec, by launching a business and preparing to hire employees; a definite asset to the province and presumably to himself and his family establishing themselves in a new home far from the dangers facing them in their native Syria.

Through the intermediary function of the Quebec-appointed Desjardins Trust Inc., Mr. Sabee took out a loan to finance a $400,000 commitment rounding out the $120,000 he was able to invest in cash representing money from his family along with profit from a business in skin-care he operated in Syria. This was a requirement of the immigration program to achieve permanent residency.

Syria's descent into civil war in 2011 left the 62-year-old, still awaiting word on his application, concerned for his family's safety.

He had  heard nothing about his 2008 application. Finally, in November of 2016 he lost his life in a bombing event while living in his native Aleppo with his wife, anxious to guard their property. Their three children had been sent out of Syria for safety. His wife and three grown children are now all refugees in France and Germany, anxious to have their father's investment for his failed application returned to them.

Failed, according to Quebec Immigration, because the applicant was no longer alive, and the file was closed.

When Mr. Sabee made his application and handed over $120,000 while taking a loan for the remaining $320,066 to make up the $400,000 required deposit to accompany his application, he was under the impression that processing his application would take no longer than a year; instead years went by, leaving the family fearful and wondering what the final disposition would be, even while Syria was embroiled in unending violence and insecurity, leading to Mr. Sabee's eventual death.

Desjardins has rejected the family's request for a refund, noting financing costs: "Desjardins duly accomplished its duties in this situation and we can only reiterate that at any moment, there is no money to be reimbursed or returned to your clients", read a letter to the family's lawyer. As for Quebec's Immigration Ministry, it responded: "It is is important to remember that the [ministry] does not intervene in the funding process. It is a private contract".

Leaving the indelible impression that both the Quebec government and the Desjardins investment firm have a tandem focus, that of shameless vultures.
From left, Elias Sabee, with his son Mario, daughter Jeanin, son Michel and wife Therese, died in a bombing in Aleppo last year.
From left, Elias Sabee, with his son Mario, daughter Jeanin, son Michel and wife Therese, died in a bombing in Aleppo last year.  (FAMILY PHOTO

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