Laval: evacuated before they had their passport

After spending a night in the storm, people who had waited for hours outside a passport office in Laval were expelled by police yesterday morning before they could even get their hands on their document.

• Also read: Thunderstorm: Thousands of travelers are stuck at Montreal airport

• Also read: Ottawa didn’t see the “passport crisis” coming

• Also read: Up to $50/hr for waiting in front of the passport office

“It looks like a banana republic. Letting people camp outside without giving them information is inhumane,” Ghyslaine Trudeau said.

Her daughter stood in front of the office in a mall for more than 30 hours to get her child’s passport. The three are scheduled to leave for Walt Disney on Monday… if they can get their hands on the valuable document by then.

Yesterday morning, the federal passport office requested the assistance of Laval police in evacuating the site, spokeswoman Erika Landry confirmed. According to local sources, hundreds of people were waiting in line at the time. Only those who had an appointment, needed to pick up a ready-made passport or flew before 11:59 p.m. yesterday could stay, the official said.

Upset

Everyone else returned home empty-handed. Some people expressed their dissatisfaction, but the evacuation went without much difficulty, stressed Mme landry

Service Canada still hadn’t responded to our interview request last night.


Courtesy of Sophie Gingras

“We feel downright betrayed by Canada. Many of us are so desperate,” said Jean-Philippe Lamarre, who had been waiting for 5 p.m. He is scheduled to fly out on Monday to visit his wife’s family in South Korea.

He spent the night from Thursday to Friday in rain and thunderstorms in a parking lot that was even flooded before he was finally asked to return home.

“The thunders banged so loud! I had come by bike but people agreed so I escaped in a car. I heard women screaming next to us as the lightning struck,” he said over the phone.

“Spending the night in the rain and wind was hell. It’s not serious. If we had known from the start what to expect… But the management was totally lacking,” said Sylvain Martel, who had been waiting since 7am Thursday morning.

In advance

Jean-Philippe Lamarre also regrets that the authorities let them sleep outside without giving them any information. Especially since the young father believed he had given himself an advance when he applied for a passport for his six-month-old son last March.

“When my daughter applied in April, we hadn’t talked about the monster waiting times in the media. She had no way of knowing that the passport would not arrive before May 26 as planned,” added Ghyslaine Trudeau.

Grandma hopes her 11-year-old granddaughter can fulfill her dream of visiting Walt Disney, Florida. “Two years have passed since Christmas, her birthdays, all holidays have fallen through. The worst thing would be to have to hurt him again just because we didn’t get his passport. It would break my heart,” she said.

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