A rally to help a family bring their adopted daughter home spread across Canada, with participants stopping by Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback’s office Wednesday morning.
Wednesday was national red tape day, a movement organized by supporters of the Earle family.
The Earles were granted guardianship of a then-four year old girl named Widlene Alexis in 2009, shortly after the girls’ mother died. The Earles had met the girl while on a mission trip to Haiti, during a visit to one of the garbage dumps where the poorest of the poor hunt for food and scrap metal.
They were originally given the green light to bring her home to Canada, but when the devastating 2010 earthquake killed her caseworkers and destroyed her paperwork, the process ground to a halt.
Starting in 2015, the Dominican Republic government began deporting all undocumented Haitians, even if they were born in the Dominican. The Earles launched the movement to bring Widlene Home, receiving support from members of parliament and the Prime Minister himself. Three years later, they still can’t get Widlene, a now stateless child, to Canada.
Human rights groups have called out the deportation. Some of the stateless Haitians sent out of the Dominican Republic have allegedly ended up in human trafficking or the sex trade.
David Abramyk is the movement’s spokesperson and organizer in Saskatchewan. He led the rally at MP Randy Hoback’s Prince Albert office Wednesday morning. In solidarity with other activists nationwide, Abramyk dropped off rolls of red tape.
According to a press release, “’National Red Tape Day’ is a tongue in cheek demonstration of nearly a decade of governmental inaction that has left a child hiding for her life. Demonstrators will deliver thousands of meters of red tape to local MPs as a way to ‘replenish’ the government’ diminishing supply of this symbol of bureaucracy.”
Abramyk has known the Earles for years. He knew Crystal Earle growing up in the St. Louis, Sask. Area, and went to the same church. When the Earles moved to Shellbrook and became pastors there, they ran summer camps and other activities that had an impact on Abramyk’s life.
He’s not surprised people have taken up the Earles’ cause nationwide.
“They’re standout people, and they’ve done some of the wonderful things all over the world,” he said.
“Their mission statement for all of the service groups they had is that the world needs more of Canada. We want to bring some of that to them. I think at this point, their family needs some of Canada brought to them.”
Abramyk said he’s been impressed with Hoback’s advocacy and understanding on the Earle file.
“He’s been very helpful to Vaden (Earle),” Abramyk said.
“I ended up cornering (Hoback) in the plumbing aisle of Rona, and he was just a stand up guy to stop and take 10 minutes out of his day in the middle of his repairs and talk with me about the file. That really impressed me.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, though, didn’t leave as good of an impression.
“He was there to give the thumbs up and take the pictures, but as soon as he’s gone, his aids, who won’t give us their names … feed us this (false) information about whether this is an adoption case or an immigration case. We need to make that clear. This is an immigration case, not an adoption.”
When reached by phone, Hoback said he’s sympathetic to the Earles’ cause, and has done as much as he can to push the federal government to make what he thinks is the right decision.
“It’s really sad,” he said.
“Here’s a loving family that’s wanting to adopt a girl that has no family in a country that doesn’t recognize her existence. They’re trying to bring this girl back to Canada, seek residency for this young child. We’ve done everything we can fro our office to support them. From what we understand, the decision lives with the minister himself.”
Hoback knows the Earles, and has met Vaden in his office on Parliament Hill. He has no doubt they’ll be great parents for young Widlene.
“They’re just good salt of the earth people. They will provide a loving and caring home for this child without a doubt,” he said.
“On humanitarian grounds, it should be approved in a minute, it shouldn’t’ even be debated. There’s no reason for this not to happen, other than bureaucracy being bureaucracy.”
Abramyk agrees with Hoback’s assertions. It’s this country’s duty, he said, to provide a safe home for some of the world’s most vulnerable.
“As a stateless person, you have no human rights. That’s where Canada can come in. Canada can claim anyone who is stateless,” Abramyk said.
“In fact, Trudeau said in a Chicago press conference a few months ago, that is a role Canada needs to play, protecting those who do not have a country to call home.”
While Hoback is supportive of Abramyk’s cause, he still appreciates the Red Tape Day protest. Actions like that help keep the issue alive in peoples’ minds.
“They have to raise the awareness, and sometimes things like red tape drop-offs do exactly that,” Hoback said.
“In the meantime, we’re encouraging people to talk to other MPS, Liberal MPs especially, and making them aware of the case. I don’t care who you are, when you hear what they’re going through, Your heartstrings get pulled, ad you say, yeah, this is the right thing to do. We’re just in a waiting game for the minister to make a decision. Hopefully it’s the right decision: allow this child to come to Canada.”