My family has known the Lennikovs for more than five years now. Children from both families are very close friends.
There had been many occasions when we talked with Mikhail and Irina. They are the essence of the type of immigrants that Canada should be striving to have in here. The Lennikovs are very hard working, honest and self sufficient. They are very genuine people and one can safely conclude that they are an asset to the community.
It boggles my mind to think that other immigrants with far less desirable pasts, most of whom enter the country with fake or no documents, are coddled by our immigration system and are finally allowed to stay.
The real tragedy is the troubles of the family after they return to Russia. Dmitri, in spite of being born in Russia, is a bona fide Canadian.
I am forced to think, though unwillingly, that our government is putting this wonderful family through hell because of a past error.
Knowing Mikhail, I firmly believe that what he says, that he was forced to do what he had to do. Communist Russia was a brutal dictatorship that demanded complete loyalty to whatever it demands from anybody. So, there are not many things that one can do. May be we would have done the same thing under those circumstances.
The government of Canada is certainly wrong in this case and should strongly reconsider this flawed decision to deport and ruin the lives of these wonderful beings and potential Canadians.
Meanwhile, I have also learned that Byrne Creek Secondary students took the streets on Monday in order to save the family from deportation. This is very good. Students have been rallying to keep the student Dmitri Lennikov and his family with them in Canada.
The government wants to deport the family because Mikhail is a former KGB officer and under the Canadian immigration law, spies or those who were part of a group that engaged in espionage against a democratic government are not allowed to stay here. The only way they can get permanent residency here is that the public safety minister deems them as non-detrimental to national interests. So knowing that things went wrong because of circumstances, why isn’t the minister doing that?
He is an honest man, has always been upfront with the Canadian authorities about his past. He admitted that he worked for the KGB to a CSIS agent, and also said that his family would face persecution if they are forced to return to Russia.