bc-100503-visa-refused1

Jason Ma's aunt in China now has a visa to come to Vancouver to visit her mother's grave. ((CBC))

Several people featured in CBC Go Public stories in recent months say their problems were resolved after they went public.

Among them is Jason Ma, who spoke out this spring after his aunt in China was denied a visa — three times — to come to Vancouver to visit her mother's grave. Her mother was killed in a car accident, but the Canadian government repeatedly refused to allow the daughter to enter the country.

After the CBC story, the government agreed to issue the visa.

"After she completes her visit, I will feel that I have done my duty and will finally be able to leave behind this seven-year-long ordeal," said Ma. "I am indebted to [CBC]."

Ma's aunt will likely make her first visit to Canada this fall.

Family gets children back

Leah and Steve Flagg said their problems were also solved after speaking out. The Kamloops couple approached CBC Go Public in April, after they could find no help for their mentally ill adult son.

bc-100426-kids-removed1

Leah and Steve Flagg got help for their mentally ill son, and their other children were returned to them. ((CBC))

"What we have seen — since the story aired — is that with enough motivation our government can do for its people what it has promised," wrote Leah Flagg.

Flagg and her husband, Steve, had allowed their son to move back into their Kamloops home, even though his violent outbursts put their other children at risk.

Before that, the 19-year-old had been under the care of B.C.'s Ministry of Children and Family Development. He was cut off from those services when he became an adult. His mother said she could find nowhere for him to live, so she brought him home.

Submit your story ideas:

  • Go Public is an investigative news segment on CBC TV, radio and the web.
  • We tell your stories and hold the powers that be accountable.
  • We want to hear from people across the country with stories they want to make public.

Submit your story ideas to Kathy Tomlinson at Go Public

The ministry responded by putting the Flaggs' other three children in foster care. The parents spoke publicly about how this had devastated the family.

"A Ministry of Housing and Social Development manager called us the morning after the story aired," Flagg said. "She has been working closely with me ever since . … With her help, we obtained housing [for the son], and his disability benefits were not delayed.

"The last of [our children] returned to us full time shortly after the story aired, and legal custody is being returned to us.

"We hope to encourage other families to pursue complaints and advocate for change … which will enable greater accountability."

Bogus cancer machine probed

In another development, Tim Hill has won a judgment against Saul Pressman, granting him a refund for a bogus cancer-cure machine his wife bought before she died.

bc-091026-gopublic2

Tim Hill won a judgment against Saul Pressman, who sold his wife a bogus cancer-cure machine. ((CBC))

Hill's wife, Moira, purchased the machine from Pressman, believing it could potentially cure her terminal cancer. Pressman calls himself a doctor but doesn't have a medical licence or PhD. He also boasts on podcasts that his ozone generators can cure cancer.

Hill went public to expose Pressman's business practices, because he feels his wife was taken advantage of.

"I know the CBC article … has definitely exposed [him] … to potential customers," Hill said.

After the story, Hill said, the federal Competition Bureau told him it would investigate Pressman's Langley, B.C., business. Hill said he believes that investigation is continuing. Hill also won his court case.

"Having attained this milestone in the courts, and with the exposure the CBC Go Public interview achieved … my prayers have been answered," Hill said.

Mexican family gets reprieve

There is also an update on Ariel Rodriguez, the six-year-old B.C. boy with a rare and serious illness, whose father was facing deportation to Mexico.

bc-100626-mexico-deportation3

Ariel Rodriguez will not lose access to health care, because his father Nicolas is no longer facing imminent deportation. ((CBC))

Nicolas Rodriguez came to Canada nine years ago and claimed refugee status. He and his wife, Leticia, had Ariel in 2003. The refugee case dragged on for years.

A review of the case eventually found Rodriguez was not even eligible to claim refugee status, because he is a former member of a U.S. drug-trafficking gang. Officials didn't notice that, however, until he had been in this country for several years.

Rodriguez went public to plead his case at the end of June, because he was facing deportation. If he's sent back to Mexico, he fears Ariel will not be covered for the complex medical care he needs.

At an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing the day after the story, Rodriguez's deportation was postponed indefinitely. He said he was told that even if he is eventually deported, it likely won't happen for years.