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Longfield says feds are working hard to repatriate Guelphites stuck overseas

Guelph travelers in Morocco and Peru are proving the most difficult to repatriate
20171208 lloyd longfield ts
Guelph MP Lloyd Longfield announces $500,000 in funding for Guelph Transit Friday, Dec. 8, 2017, at Guelph City Hall. Tony Saxon/GuelphToday

Gueph MP Lloyd Longfield said efforts remain ongoing to repatriate Guelphites stuck overseas that are trying to get home.

Longfield there are currently six files that his office is aware of and that Guelph travellers in Italy, Mexico, Guatemala and the United States now have travel arrangements to get home.

Efforts remain ongoing to get a Guelph couple in Morocco and a Guelph family in Peru home safely.

That list doesn't include Guelph snowbirds in the United States for the winter.

"We are getting answers for them," said Longfield Wednesday afternoon. "It's taking a little bit longer sometimes because some of our missions are working from home.

"Particularly the calls around Morocco and Peru are particularly problematic for us, but we are getting some answers. Some countries are closing their borders as well, which makes it more complicated."

Mike Essex, who is stranded in Morocco with his wife, said via email that French travellers are getting out so he is hopeful a Canadian flight can be arranged soon.

"Four Air France flights departed Casablanca today for Paris to repatriate French citizens. We have had word from some MP's offices that the Canadian government is in discussions with Air Transat to repatriate Canadians.  We certainly hope that those discussions bear fruit and we're soon home," wrote Essex, who has been in touch with Longfield's office.

Dave DeMaren, who was on his honeymoon in Italy when their flight home was cancelled, said they now have a flight booked to get home through the Canadian government.

"It's issues on the other end that are the main issues," Longfield said of the Morocco and Peru situations. "The offices there are taking longer to get back to us. Our offices there are overwhelmed. We have a number of Canadians in both those countries."

But he added that those things might be taking longer but the federal government is working hard to get flights there to pick Canadians up.

"It shows the importance of coming home and when they do, they have to self-isolate. It's why we were saying a week ago 'things are changing quickly, just don't leave home.' Now we're saying 'get home as fast as you can because things are changing quickly.'

"Anybody that is out there that's thinking about coming home, they should be coming home."

The federal government announced that loans of up to $5,000 will be available for those who are having to stay longer than expected overseas to help with ongoing costs if needed.


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Tony Saxon

About the Author: Tony Saxon

Tony Saxon has had a rich and varied 30 year career as a journalist, an award winning correspondent, columnist, reporter, feature writer and photographer.
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