Legault gives support to permanent residency for falsely arrested Montreal resident
Published Tuesday, February 16, 2021 4:13PM EST Last Updated Tuesday, February 16, 2021 9:33PM EST
OTTAWA -- Both the House of Commons and Quebec's legislature adopted motions on Tuesday calling on Canada's immigration minister to grant permanent residency to a Quebec man who was arrested, charged with attempted murder of a police officer and detained for six days before being exonerated.
In Ottawa, MPs unanimously adopted the Bloc Quebecois motion asking the minister to grant Mamadi III Fara Camara permanent residency "as soon as possible."
A lawyer representing Camara confirmed a request was filed last week asking Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino to grant his client residency based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
"An application for residence on the basis of the minister's power under section 25.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act was filed last Friday with the minister, who has full discretion to grant it automatically," Guillaume Cliche-Rivard wrote in an email.
He said Camara is in Canada on a study permit that expires in mid-May.
Alexander Cohen, Mendicino's press secretary, said the federal government is ready to help Camara navigate the immigration process.
"We are deeply disturbed by the treatment of Mamadi Fadi Camara. It was unacceptable and we want to have clear answers about what happened," Cohen said in a statement.
"We appreciate the motion recently passed by all members of the House of Commons.
"Applicants can include extenuating circumstances as part of the process for permanent residency, and these factors are seriously considered. Every case is subject to thorough review and analysis, and decisions are only taken after careful consideration."
Camara was arrested Jan. 28 after a police officer was allegedly disarmed and attacked with his own service weapon, and he was originally charged with attempted murder and other serious offences before being fully exonerated.
He recently told Quebec talk show "Tout le monde en parle" that he had been traumatized by the events, which included being roughly arrested and forbidden to speak to his family while detained.
Camara said he felt the guards perceived him as a "monster" after his arrest, which his lawyer said happened after he witnessed the assault on the police officer and called 911.
Camara is a graduate student who oversees a lab at Polytechnique Montreal, and his wife is pregnant with twins. He was welcomed back to campus, but he told the talk show the trauma has so far prevented him from working.
The motion presented in Quebec City said Camara is required to study full time to maintain his immigration status, which he is currently unable to do because of the mental toll the incident has taken.
In tabling it, Independent member Catherine Fournier asked the legislature to recognize "the extent of the psychological distress experienced by Mr. Camara, which was caused by the injustice of which he was the victim and prevents him from continuing his studies in the medium term." It calls on the province to ask the Canadian government to grant Camara permanent residency.
The motion also asked Quebec's immigration minister to grant Camara a Quebec selection certificate, which would indicate he's been selected to settle in the province.
Premier Francois Legault confirmed Tuesday the province would issue the certificate to Camara as soon as he's granted permanent residency, saying he hoped it would help "mitigate" the harm he suffered.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 16, 2021.