A Calgary man whose wife is stranded in Moscow says the government is powerless to get her back.  


Terry Forsyth's wife is unable to leave Russia after visiting the country without the necessary documents. (CBC)

Terry Forsyth, his wife Yulia Burch and their 15-month-old daughter went to Russia earlier this month for a family emergency.  

Burch lost her permanent resident card before leaving Canada, but was told by officials here she could apply for a travel document from the Canadian embassy in Moscow.

She was told it would only take three days to process.

But when Forsyth went to collect the document, he was told by a Russian who works at the Canadian embassy that it wasn't ready.

"We were told, 'Your documents aren't ready. And don't ask again,'" he said.

He was then told to leave the embassy, he said.

Later an embassy official told him they were powerless to help the family.

"He told me the system is flawed, and you need to let your member of parliament know that this is not working over here," he said.

"It shocked me … as a Canadian I was ashamed that that was my Canadian embassy."

As a Russian citizen, Burch needs her Canadian permanent resident card to be allowed to travel back to Calgary.

With his daughter sick, Forsyth was forced to leave his wife behind.

Forsyth's MP is Stephen Harper. The prime minister’s constituency office told Forsyth that they have also had trouble getting information about his wife's situation.

After CBC News alerted officials with Citizenship and Immigration Canada, they are investigating.

The Department of Foreign Affairs declined to comment, citing privacy rules.