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Kofi Ampong feels Canada, the country he fell in love with, is running away from him.
Ampong, a former STU student, is now facing deportation to Ghana, his home country, where the medical treatments he needs don’t exist.
Ampong’s final hearing was yesterday, November 9, but no details were available as of press time.
He said his condition is not only paralyzing but also can be stabilized in Canada.
“I’ve been harmed in a way where the system back home does not guarantee my health,” Ampong said. “We’ve been trying to get the federal government or even the provincial government to see that this is a situation where I was severely injured by a Canadian citizen. As far as human rights are concerned, I feel a degree of harm that was caused (by the incident) was not being looked at.”
In 2007, Ampong was stabbed in the neck and chest in downtown Moncton, an attack which left the STU graduate in a wheelchair.
He ended up in a hospital for almost a year, and had lost all movement of his body at first, yet managed to improve the use of his upper body.
He now lives in Moncton, but his condition is still not stable. He underwent a surgery on Oct. 5 and just got out of a hospital two weeks ago.
Since the incident, he has applied for the permanent residency twice under two different categories, but both came back rejected.
Ampong said applying for permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate grounds was his last resort.
Humanitarian and compassionate grounds are applied when there is a risk to life, security or liberty to the person who applies for the permanent residency.
“The incident put me in a situation where I’m basically at a mercy of the government of Canada. I shouldn’t be at mercy of Canada,” he said. “There should be a clear-cut solution to the problem.”
Ampong added that he feels the Charter of human rights is being overlooked in his case, even though human rights are what Canada represents itself with to the world.
Lee Cohen, an immigration and human rights lawyer, pointed out that immigration and refugee policy changed after Stephen Harper came into power.
“Now immigration enforcement is much stricter and more frequent,” Cohen said. “And it did affect the number of immigrants in Canada.”
Richard Myers, a political science professor at St. Thomas and a founding member of Friends of Kofi, a Facebook group that supports his recovery, said Canadian officials have been generous with Ampong.
He added that Mike Murphy, Minister of Health at that time, was good about ensuring that Kofi would receive full medical care despite the fact that he was no longer covered by a health care arrangement.
Yet Myers said Canadian society owes it to Ampong to give him an opportunity to recover from his injury as well as possible, and it would be inhumane to deport him.
“To the extent he’s been a victim of a terrible crime committed by a Canadian citizen, the least Canada could do would be to let him stay here and have him the best chance at a full life by remaining in Canada,” said Myers. “He will not get an appropriate care and he will have an extremely difficult life there (if he’s deported).”
Another concern that Ampong has with the case is that the real issues with regard to Canada’s immigration policy are not being looked at.
Through the process of the application, he felt that political aspects of immigration were looked into more than actual issues of immigration.
“I don’t enjoy that I’m responsible for having representation. It costs me money again every time my application is denied,” he said. “The politics of immigration needs to stop, and actual problems should be focused on.”
Ampong added that what he wants is a moment of relief from worrying about what happens tomorrow.
“You want to do everything you want to do normally, but without worrying about what tomorrow brings,” he said. “But in my case, I have to worry about that and that is where I would hope they would have empathy. Not so much empathy, but they’ll fix the solution.”
“Canada, the country I know, would not let anything happen to people that come to study or stay, because that is what we hear and that is what we know and that is what we understand.”
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