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Haitian asylum seeker ‘living in hell’ 6 months after deportation from Quebec

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Amid violent protests and civil unrest, the Canadian Border Services Agency halted deportations to Haiti on Friday, offering a temporary reprieve for 421 Haitian nationals still under an enforceable removal order.

Unfortunately this reprieve came too late for Oberne Pierre, a Haitian asylum seeker whose claim was denied after a year of living in Quebec.

Pierre crossed into Quebec at Roxham Road in the summer of 2017, but his refugee claim was denied and he was deported in August 2018.

Canadian authorities determined there was not enough evidence to prove Pierre’s safety was « at risk » in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital.

Oberne Pierre’s home, on the left side, doesn’t have clean drinking water or reliable electricity. (Radio-Canada/Laurence Martin)

Like hundreds of Haitian asylum seekers who were denied the right to stay in Canada, Pierre had to pack his bags.

Returning to the life he had before has been difficult, especially since getting a taste of what his life could have been.

« I’m very frustrated, » Pierre said, « but we must abide by the law. »

Pierre’s dream of finding a better future in Canada is over, but he says his nightmare in Haiti is all too real.

« Haiti isn’t a life. People who live in Haiti, I don’t know, but for me it’s hell. We’re living in hell. » 

He told Radio-Canada that it’s been difficult to access even the most basic services, and finding clean drinking water has been a challenge.

« It’s been three days now that I haven’t found water, » he said, adding that his family only has access to limited electricity and sometimes goes days without it.

The water shortage is affecting millions of Haitians and is linked to the protests. Roadblocks make deliveries of gas to pumping stations impossible, and the government has been using petroleum imports as leverage to try and quell the demonstrations.

« It’s thanks to the grace of God I’m still living. Because I have nothing. No work, nothing at all, » he said.

He lives in a tiny home with a kitchen and bedroom in Pétionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince.

Oberne Pierre said he wants to make a better life for his eight-year-old Tanorah. (Radio-Canada/Laurence Martin)

While living in Quebec, waiting for news about his claim, Pierre worked for a temp agency in Laval and sent money home to his wife and daughter.

Now, he says his hope lies with his eight-year-old daughter Tanorah, who stayed behind with his wife in Haiti while Pierre attempted to claim asylum in Canada.

« I’m going to fight so her future doesn’t happen in Haiti, » he said.

​Frantz André, a Montrealer who has been helping many Haitian asylum seekers through the Action Committee for People Without Status, worked on Pierre’s case and got to know him before the deportation.

André described him as « a gentleman, » saying that « he was the hope of the family since he came here. »

He said taking Pierre to the airport on the day he had to leave was « really painful » and the two still keep in touch every week.

« I’ve called everybody that I know in Haiti who could perhaps give him a job. » said André. « Right now he has not a penny to his name. »

Frantz André advocates on behalf of Haitian asylum seekers in Montreal. (Verity Stevenson/CBC)

André said that Haitian asylum seekers currently make up the largest proportion of those being deported from Canada.

He said it’s hypocritical that Canada has closed its embassy in Haiti and is advising Canadians not to travel there, but continued deporting people up until Feb. 15.

« Suddenly, because we have a 113 Canadians that are stuck in a hotel, they suddenly have to realize, ‘Okay we better put a moratorium.' »

The CBSA told CBC in an email Sunday that officials are « aware of the situation in Haiti and its impact on persons facing removal » and that the temporary stay on deportations is in effect until further notice.



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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