Rohingya refugee presses Premier Wynne for more action on Myanmar

When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sits down with members of the local Rohingya Muslim community Monday, she can expect to get an earful from Ahmed Ullah, who feels the provincial government should put more pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene in Myanmar.

Ahmed Ullah returned from Bangladesh Friday, wants federal government to do more

Ahmed Ullah hugs a man inside a refugee camp in Bangladesh. (Provided by Ahmed Ullah)

When Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne sat down with members of the local Rohingya Muslim community Monday afternoon, she got an earful from Ahmed Ullah. 

"I am grateful for what they are doing, but I want my country to do more," he told CBC's The Morning Edition Monday morning. 

Ullah came to Canada as a refugee in 2009, but went back to Bangladesh this month to help Rohingya refugees fleeing Myanmar. 

"I have seen so much in such little time," said Ullah.

"Things you see and you can't really get it out of your head. You see all these people starving, all these people needing medical assistance. They're hungry, some people don't have shelter and you see kids begging for food."

Pressure province to pressure Trudeau

It's estimated more than 600,000 Rohingya, mostly from the troubled Rakhine state, have fled to shelter in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Ahmed Ullah is a Rohingya refugee who lives in Kitchener. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

Ullah said that while he knows, ultimately, it's up to the federal foreign affairs department to take action, not the province, he was happy to find an ally in Wynne.

"She did promise, at the end before she left, she says 'I promise that I'm going to push this to the federal level,'" said Ullah after the meeting. 

"As a citizen of Ontario, and a citizen of Canada, it is really hard to reach out to the prime minister. I'm seeing some work being done right now – after two months, after most everybody's been wiped out from Burma," he said.

"For us, going to the federal level with this kind of thing is very, very good." 

On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed former Ontario premier Bob Rae as special envoy to Myanmar. 

It's hoped in this role, Rae will advise the Trudeau government on the goings-on inside Myanmar while having more freedom to be political than Canadian diplomats now inside the country. 

Ullah, however, questions what good that does now. 

"Every day, about 15,000 people flee from Myanmar. It is too late to send people in now," he said.