Minister intervenes in climate activist’s deportation from Canada at 11th hour 

At the 11th hour, a climate activist in Canada who was facing deportation said he was informed that his removal was “cancelled.”

“I’m feeling relieved,” Muhammad Zain Haq told Daily Hive. 

Last week, Haq, who’s worked with movements like Save Old Growth and Extinction Rebellion in BC, lost his legal fight to stay in Canada after the Canada Border Services Agency ordered to remove him on April 22. 

After his lawyer filed a stay of removal and the Federal Court heard his case to stay on Tuesday, his federal court case was dismissed. Soon after, Haq pled the Minister of Immigration Marc Miller to stop his removal through Ministerial Intervention

The activist and his wife, Canadian citizen Sophia Papp, called on supporters to call their local Member of Parliament to stop Haq’s removal.

Haq told Daily Hive that by Friday afternoon, the CBSA had called to tell him that “the removal was cancelled.”

“There were many MPs [Members of Parliament] that were advocating on our behalf to the minister, and the minister used his executive discretionary authority to intervene,” he explained. 

Daily Hive has been able to confirm that an immigration officer from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) told Haq’s lawyer that the Minister’s office gave instructions to issue Haq a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) and a Work Permit for six months.

Daily Hive contacted the Minister of Immigration and the CBSA for comment, but neither could comment on individual cases due to privacy legislation.

However, the CBSA added that the decision to remove someone from Canada is “not taken lightly.” It added that people who face removal have access to “due process and procedural fairness.”

“They may seek redress through various processes at the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) (appeals), the Federal Court of Canada (judicial review) and if eligible, the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (Pre-removal risk assessment if they feel they may be subject to persecution in their country of origin, and Humanitarian and Compassionate Applications for Permanent Residence),” the CBSA explained.

“Being engaged in lawful protest activities would not, in and of itself, render an individual inadmissible to Canada. There are a number of reasons an individual could be found inadmissible to Canada: Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (”

It is after someone has exhausted all the legal avenues that the CBSA says they are expected to leave Canada or be removed.

As a Simon Fraser University (SFU) student, Haq participated in several climate change demonstrations in Metro Vancouver, which blocked traffic and frustrated drivers.

In 2021, he was arrested and charged in Burnaby, BC, after he breached a court-ordered injunction of Trans Mountain’s Burnaby Terminal.

He pleaded guilty to mischief charges and was given a conditional sentence of 61 days minus 14 days for time served. He was also placed on 12-month probation.

The 24-year-old was in Toronto this week after flying to the East Coast ahead of his planned morning flight to Karachi, Pakistan. He was required to leave the country directly from Canada. He told Daily Hive he plans to fly back to Vancouver on Wednesday. 

“It’s definitely a relief, and I’m catching up on a lot of my sleep because we were quite stressed for a few days, and we’re sleeping properly,” Haq said. “But we’re definitely doing better now.”