Canadian war veteran Micheal Rude who fought in Afghanistan waited for an important arrival at Victoria International Airport Friday morning, but the Afghan man who used to interpret for him on the battlefield never arrived.
“I was sitting in my truck crying in the parking lot,” said Michael Rude.
Niaz Hussaini risked his life when he served as an interpreter for Canada and then the United States for many years.
When the Afghanistan War ended, he and his family were moved to California under an American program to help interpreters
However, on Friday he was turned away by the Canadian government he also used to serve when he was told he could not travel to Canada.
“He belongs here,” added Rude. “He bled just like any other Canadian soldier on the battlefield.”
Hussaini’s rejection Friday is being blamed on the last minute arrangements to bring him here and lack of time to process his paperwork, but he wants to move here permanently and that is being stalled as well.
“Last year he wrote to emigrate to Canada and they denied him because they said he was in a safe place already and that’s a guy who lost his legs for our country right?” said Rude.
Mike Rude isn’t the only person trying to bring Hussaini to Canada.
“Canada can’t let him into the country. I’m just baffled by that,” said Maureen Eykelenboom.
Eykelenboom’s son Andrew was a Canadian military paramedic who was killed in Afghanistan in August 2006.
Hussaini and Rude were supposed to be in Comox this weekend for the annual Boomer’s Legacy fundraiser named after Andrew Eykelenboom, a charity aimed at helping Canadian troops help others in Canada and around the world.
Just months before he died, Eykelenboom saved Hussaini’s when he had both legs blown off in a grenade attack.
Andrew’s mother says Hussaini deserves to live in Canada.
“We owe him and other interpreters from Afghanistan the right to be able to come and live in this country freely and properly,” she said.
Canada has brought 800 interpreters to Canada since the war ended but many others like Niaz Hussaini are still waiting.
CHEK News contacted Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada to see what efforts are being made to bring Hussaini to Canada but was told an answer would not be available before deadline.
The annual Boomer’s Legacy Bicycle Ride is this weekend, leaving Comox Saturday morning, riding to Nanaimo, the returning to Comox on Sunday.
Boomer’s Legacy has raised more than $1.3 million and distributed more than $800,000 in grants since 2006.
More information can be found here.