Some members of deposed Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s family are in Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported Sunday.
The CBC said it had learned at least five members of Ben Ali’s clan arrived in Montreal by private jet Thursday. The five include Ben Ali’s brother-in-law, government sources told the news network. Most of them held permanent resident cards and the CBC’s sources said the federal government was monitoring airlines to prevent additional members of Ben Ali’s family from entering the country.
“There are, I gather, a couple members of his family who are already Canadian permanent residents, which gives them a legal right to be here,” Kenney told the CBC. “But anyone who wants to come from Tunisia requires a visa. That would be very difficult for someone to obtain if they can’t go back to their country of origin. So we’re watching this situation carefully.”
The news didn’t sit well with at least one member of Montreal’s Tunisian community.
“It is outrageous,” Sonia Djelidi said. “We don’t understand why Canada would accept them here in Canada because it doesn’t follow the Canadian values, such as justice and social democracy, and we want this family to be judged by Tunisians in Tunisia.”
Ben Ali stepped down as president Jan. 14 after 23 years in office. He was brought down by weeks of rioting.