Nova Scotia

N.S. woman's husband denied entry into Canada

Immigration officials have told a Nova Scotian woman who married a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo that her husband can't visit, let alone stay in Canada.

Immigration officials have told a Nova Scotian woman who married a man from the Democratic Republic of Congo that her husband can't visit, let alone stay in Canada.

Shona Bezanson and Patient Beya Bakadi married in Zanzibar last September. They're currently working in Sierra Leone and now want to settle down in Canada.
Shona Bezanson and Patient Beya Bakadi married a year ago. (CBC)

Last week, Bakadi's application for permanent residency was refused on the basis he does not meet the criteria of family.

They met two and a half years ago while they were working for non-government organizations in the Congo

She is a child protection specialist and he is a nutritionist and dietician.

The couple talked to CBC News Friday from Sierra Leone via Skype.

"I was just drawn to him, he's a lovely, lovely warm person, just a very kind person, serious, intelligent," Bezanson said. "We want to be there to be closer to family and friends, we want to start our own family, for our kids to have the same opportunities that I had," she said.

'Discouraging'

"I would like really to have that chance and privilege to know Shona's relatives, friends," said Bakadi.

"[It's] discouraging and it's difficult to accept it," he said.

Bezanson's parents, Pat and Greg Bezanson, met their son-in-law when they travelled to Zanzibar for their wedding.

"When we Skype we have a lot of laughs and they seem delighted with each other and so that warms our hearts every time we chat," she said of their chats with her parents.
Pat and Greg Bezanson say their daughter and son-in-law followed proper procedure with their residency application. (CBC)

"The love of her life is found not eligible for entry into her country, it's humiliating, it's very difficult for them," said Greg Bezanson.

Bezanson's parents say the couple followed the proper procedures for their application, so they can't understand why Bakadi was denied.

Her parents are doing what they can to advocate at home. They contacted their MP Scott Brison, who they say will advocate for Bezanson to Canada's Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

"We'd like to just get the word out, maybe get friends and family to write letters to the minister and see if maybe there's a way of linking Shona and Patient with other sort of groups that may be going through the same thing," said Pat Bezanson.

In the meantime the couple have hired a lawyer and will appeal the decision.

"We are a real couple, we're a real family like anyone else and that we have one another and that's the most important thing right now," Bezanson said. 

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