Stop the Removal of Zain Haq

Canada's Minister of Immigration Marc Miller and Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc

Zain Ul-Haq is a young leader in the global climate movement who is currently facing deportation from Canada as a result of his participation in non-violent civil disobedience intended to raise public awareness about the impending climate disaster. Deportation means possibly permanent separation from his Canadian spouse and the denial of an opportunity to complete his university studies.

Please join us in asking Canada's Minister of Immigration Marc Miller, the Minister of Public Safety Dominic Leblanc and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to exercise their discretion by allowing Zain to stay. Add your signature to the letter below...

Petition by
Zain Haq
Burnaby, Canada

To: Canada's Minister of Immigration Marc Miller and Minister of Public Safety Dominic LeBlanc
From: [Your Name]

Dear Honourable Ministers Miller, Minister LeBlanc, and Prime Minister Trudeau,

We write to ask that you exercise your discretion to stop the deportation of Zain Ul-Haq, and to grant his application for permanent residence in Canada via in-Canada spousal sponsorship with humanitarian considerations.

Zain is a young man who, while attending university in Canada as an international student from Pakistan, learned about the urgent climate crisis that puts his future and the future of the planet in peril. He became involved with groups focused on raising public awareness and lobbying the Canadian government to implement policies at the scale necessary to address that crisis, and helped lead a successful campaign pressuring Simon Fraser University to commit to full fossil-fuel divestment by 2025. Between March and September 2021, he was arrested several times for his participation in non-violent direct action in the Vancouver metropolitan area organized by Extinction Rebellion and Save Old Growth. In February 2022 he served 14 days in prison for violating a Court injunction against protestors blocking construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline in Burnaby, British Columbia, and later pled guilty to five counts of mischief. As a result of those mischief charges, he will likely be found inadmissible to Canada for criminality under s. 36(2)(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Zain is a well-known and well-loved member of his community. He is respected for his selfless dedication to the movement, calm demeanor, easy smile, and organizing talent. He has been compliant with probationary conditions imposed by the BC courts and CBSA since September 2022, has taken responsibility for his participation in nonviolent civil disobedience, and he plans to continue to advocate for necessary change through legal means. Although CBSA revoked his study permit in 2022, SFU has indicated that he is eligible to re-enroll in order to complete his history degree as soon as he is legally authorized to study. He has been offered a job as a campaign organizer with STAND.earth as soon as he is legally authorized to work.

At a time when more and more young people are losing faith in the ability of governments and institutions to respond adequately to the existential threats posed by climate change and biodiversity loss, Canada should be cultivating courageous young leaders like Zain, encouraging their education, and inviting them to meaningfully participate in the generation-defining work of transitioning to a post-carbon economy. By choosing instead to criminalize and deport Zain, Canadian leaders risk alienating all those who, like Zain, are motivated to take action rather than give in to despair.

In April 2023, Zain married his Canadian partner Sophie, and shortly after he submitted an application for Permanent Residence. It is within the discretionary authority of IRCC, under the direction of Minister Miller, to allow that application on the basis of their authentic marriage and to grant temporary work and/or study authorization while the application is under consideration. It is within the discretionary authority of CBSA, under the direction of Minister LeBlanc, to deprioritize Zain's deportation to allow time for the spousal sponsorship application to be processed. It is also within the discretion of Prime Minister Trudeau to direct either of the Ministers to deprioritise Zain's removal. We call on you to exercise that authority, and by doing so to show that Canadian political leaders understand why young people are afraid for the future of the planet.