Busker Morales scheduled to leave Canada
Chilean-born Victor Morales, a Montreal street musician, faces deportation due to his criminal past. Morales, who has lived in Canada for 34 years, is scheduled to be removed from the country on February 8.
Ottawa began deportation proceedings in 1998 but they were not executed. In 2008, the case was picked up again. A request to have the deportation order overturned for humanitarian reasons was rejected in 2010.
If deported, Morales will have to return to Chile, which he left when he was six years old. He will be eligible to apply for a pardon to re-enter Canada in 2013.
Lawyer: Morales “not really a criminal”
Morales’ lawyer, Stewart Istvanffy, is requesting a judicial review of the case. He claims that Canada automatically deports anyone with a criminal record, while describing his client’s crimes as “minor”.
‘He’s not really a criminal. He’s someone with a criminal record,’ Istvanffy said.
Morales has accumulated a rap sheet of non-violent, mostly petty crimes. For each crime, he has never spend more than a few weeks in jail. He had entered 18 guilty pleas between 1994 and 2004, and has been convicted for offenses such as drunk driving, break-and-enter, and theft.
Morales turned his life around
Although he has had drug and alcohol problems, Morales has been clean for years. He became an evangelical Christian, and is the primary caregiver for his mother suffering from AIDS. He is also a father of three, and sees two of his three boys every day, even though they live with is ex-wife.
For his case, he has received letters of support from his ex-wife, former sister-in-law, and addiction counsellor who supervised his alcohol-treatment program.
Morales defended himself to reporters at the federal courthouse.
“I’m a Canadian citizen, I’m a Québécois, I’m a [permanent] resident who lost his status because of his criminal past,” Morales said.