Sask. MLA compelled by stories from Ukrainian refugee

Your name is Natalia and you’ve travelled with your family – your husband and three children – from invasion-ravaged Ukraine into nearby, friendly Slovakia.

You travel 12 hours on a train to Germany to speak with a legislator from Saskatchewan, and that legislator, Terry Dennis from Canora-Pelly, is moved by the stories of yours and your family’s survival enough to make him want to move your family and people like you into the much safer Saskatchewan.

“She works at Kyiv train station, and just her story of fleeing with her three kids, and her husband, and the continued work that she does in the metro there,” Dennis said, fresh from his stay in Germany. “And thousands of displaced people that sleep in there every night, to avoid the bombings and shootings and stuff like that is really,.. quite emotional stories.”

The process of getting people like Natalia and her family into Canada is in the hands of the Canadian embassy, and the process is moving.

“It’s taking a little longer than we would hope and we’re just offering our help as Saskatchewan government to see what we can do to help them out, and even have people on the ground help out with the process,” Dennis said.

Dennis and a delegation, which included a translator, went to an empty airport to visit with refugees who are having to live there.

“They’re in shock,” he said. “A lot of them want to find a place to live temporarily but there some of them that we did talk to…  some of them are ready to come… We’re ready to welcome whatever we can get over here,” Dennis said.

He said their Immigration Services office in Saskatoon are welcoming families that are connected to other families already here. Those who don’t have connections in this country are having a longer time of it getting to Canada, and perhaps even Saskatchewan.

They’re preparing to offer food, housing, and potentially employment to refugees. Dennis said they received valuable information from their German counterparts on what Saskatchewan will need to do to welcome refugees.

“We saw what they did right, we saw what they need to get plans in, and it was very helpful for us to meet with them,” he said.

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