Former B.C. premier Ujjal Dosanjh has joined the fight to keep Mikhail Lennikov in Canada, and met with the ex-KGB agent on Thursday at the Vancouver church that granted him asylum.
Lennikov spent seven years fighting an impending deportation order and on Tuesday fled to First Lutheran Church after exhausting a last-ditch effort to stay in Canada.
Dosanjh, Liberal MP for Vancouver South, said it’s within Public Safety Minister Peter van Loan’s power to overturn the deportation order.
“This is a man who has an asset in Canada. He has a family here,” said Dosanjh.
“Laws are there, so are exceptions. That’s why the government is given the discretion to override those provisions that may sound (unfair).”
Lennikov, who stood at the church doorway and was careful not to cross the threshold, said he was forthcoming in telling the government about his past with the KGB — and for which he has now been ordered deported.
“The part of the process should be telling me exactly what they accuse me of,” Lennikov said, adding that he’s now considered a traitor in Russia for disclosing details about the KGB with the Canadian government.
“If he was such a threat, why have we allowed him to remain in the country?” Dosanjh added.
“There’s no evidence he’s engaging in any criminal activity or espionage … It’s important that we make some concessions and allow people like Lennikov to remain in Canada.”