Mr. Speaker, I do not want to take up much time in this debate, but I want to use it as an opportunity to raise an important issue for my constituency.
It has to do with a family from the former Yugoslavia that has been trying for some time to enter Canada. These folks have experienced extreme persecution in their country. They have lived a period of horror in terms of their personal lives. Unfortunately they have been trying, I must say unsuccessfully, to enter Canada. I have recently asked them to put their case clearly on the record so that I could present it to the Minister of Immigration, which I have done.
I asked the minister of immigration to involve herself and make a decision based on compassionate and humanitarian grounds to enable this family from the former Yugoslavia to enter Canada and to join with extended family members who have been here for some time and have integrated very successfully into the fabric of Canadian society.
I am fortunate to know one of the families that has been working very hard on behalf of extended family members in the former Yugoslavia. While all sorts of people are using various ways to get into the country, these people have chosen the legitimate way, the honourable way, the correct way, the appropriate way. They have gone through all the appropriate channels.
They have been informed by our foreign service people abroad, particularly those responsible for immigration, that the former Yugoslavia from which they come, and particularly the neighbouring area of Macedonia, is not an area of serious problems. These people on a personal basis have experienced severe persecution and extreme harassment. The spouse of the head of the family has been threatened with rape. Their children have been threatened in the school yards with repeated beatings because they happen to be of the wrong ethnic group in this case.
I am not sure this is the appropriate time to do it, but I will use this occasion to raise their plight and concern. I hope and pray the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration will see fit to grant this family entrance to Canada based on compassionate and humanitarian grounds so they can join extended family members here. I know they will make a very positive contribution to life in Canada and will be able to leave a very unfortunate circumstance behind them in Europe.