Hon. Gerry Weiner – Pace Immigration: I was recently honoured to be invited to Newfoundland for the 30th anniversary of the Tamil refugees arriving to Canada.
I stood in awe as survivors of the horrendous experience recounted leaving their homeland in a rusty old ship with just the shirts on their backs. Once across the Atlantic, the crew of the vessel had put the refugees into two fibreglass life boats and cut them adrift. That began an ordeal of three days and two nights of floating on the swells without food or water.
It was a miracle that they survived. Canadian fishermen saw the boats bobbing on the waves and called the coast guard. The refugees were brought ashore and today are all happily Canadian, as are their families.
Finding A Home In Canada
They wept as they recounted their stories, overwhelmed at their good fortune of having been rescued. Crying because of what it means to their children, and in turn their successive generations, to live in freedom and peace in Canada.
I started to cry as well, happy for these Tamil survivors. Yet suddenly, in that moment, I comprehended how I might not be here proudly standing with them, as a former Minister of the Government of Canada. If the boats carrying my own ancestors had not found safety on our shores, I wouldn’t be here today. I am extremely fortunate to be a member of this very exclusive club.
Somehow, my branch of the family landed here, in the best country in the world. Other relations of mine have not been so fortunate, and many still live in hostile and unstable circumstances around the globe.
They aren’t alone. Turn on the TV or read a newspaper and you will see evidence of the close to sixty-five million refugees who are desperate for safer living conditions. Beyond those people, there are millions of others who do not fit the UN’s definition of a “refugee” but are still anxious for a better way of life.
A Second Passport
For this reason, I feel strongly that if someone has the ways and the means to access a second passport, they should do so. It is a powerful tool for ensuring a secure future.
For some, this might involve recovering the passports of their countries of origin, which were once not safe but are now stable. For others, it may involve getting a passport through family ties or through investment. I read the other day of how people affected by the Brexit vote in the UK are already putting such plans in motion. In a once unthinkable move, Jews in the UK who have old ties to Germany are applying for their German passports. This will allow them to continue to work and live in the EU after the Brexit procedures are finalized.
A second passport is an insurance policy, allowing visa-free travel to numerous countries that your country of origin may not provide should a quick escape be required. If your country of residence falls into turmoil or your family is in danger, a second passport provides a safety net. Danger or not, a second passport may also provide better education and job opportunities for your children.
Antigua Citizenship By Investment Program
One passport option I recommend is Antigua. If you meet the criteria and have the necessary funds, citizenship can usually be obtained in less than a year, without the need for establishing a residence on the island. You need only visit Antigua once, in a five year period, to be granted a renewal of the citizenship. This Citizenship by Investment program provides visa-free travel to over 130 countries and allows you to live on a spectacular island, in complete security, with excellent health and education facilities.
Your funds to qualify for the program can either be advanced to the government as a donation or you can purchase property or place the funds in a rental pool.
I recently had a chance to visit Antigua, spending two wonderful weeks traveling its roads and enjoying its beaches. A group of homes that I fell in love with was Tamarind Hills, a place that I would highly recommend. In fact, the properties are so beautifully situated on their own beach that the thought of owning one has given me a lot to consider. The architecture and landscape were breathtaking.
If you drop me a note, I will be very pleased to have one of my colleagues send you details of the program and Tamarind Hills. I might even have the chance to introduce you to the owner and his wife, Alex and Rufus Gobat, two very remarkable people, who are now my friends.
À la prochaine…