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Federal officials to look again at Catalan leader's request to come to Canada

MONTREAL — A Montreal lawyer representing the exiled former president of Spain’s Catalonia region says Ottawa will take another look at his client’s travel permit application after the sovereigntist politician was initially denied entry into the country.

Immigration lawyer Stephane Handfield says Carles Puigdemont was denied access to Canada in March due to the actions of a third-party website handling his Canadian application.

Handfield says Puigdemont, who lives in exile in Belgium, received an Electronic Travel Authorization from Canada.

But on March 31, two days before his scheduled arrival in Quebec, the federal government suspended the permit without giving a reason.

Handfield said today Puigdemont has resubmitted his travel application to come to Canada June 10-14, and the lawyer also says Puigdemont never received the request for further documentation that led to the suspension.

Puigdemont, who fled Spain in 2017 to avoid prosecution after his regional government held an unauthorized referendum on independence, was invited to Quebec by the nationalist group Societe Saint-Jean-Baptiste.

The group’s president Maxime Laporte had accused Ottawa of refusing Puigdemont entry into the country because the leader was a Catalan separatist and the government wanted to avoid him delivering his views to a Quebec audience.

Handfield had filed a motion Monday in Federal Court seeking judicial review, but the Immigration Department has since told the lawyer it will re-evaluate the application and allow Puigdemont an opportunity to provide documents it had requested.





The Canadian Press