After two years of steps and pitfalls, the CAQ member Sylvain Lévesque was finally able to welcome, for the first time on Quebec soil, his wife of Cuban origin and his daughter, whom he had not seen for 10 months in due to COVID-19.
The member for Chauveau and “the two loves of his life” finally found themselves, last Friday evening, on the tarmac at Montreal-Trudeau airport.
When he married Yaneysi Villar Galvez in the summer of 2018, Sylvain Lévesque was hopeful of completing the family reunification process as soon as it began within the 12 months of normal legal deadlines.
But it was without knowing that, a few months later, the Canadian embassy in Cuba would temporarily close its doors, after several North American diplomats had suffered injuries as a result of so-called acoustic attacks.
“A crazy step”
Like many Canadian-Cuban couples, Mr. Lévesque and his new wife found themselves faced with quite a puzzle.
“It was a crazy step. An incredible obstacle course, […] but feelings are stronger than anything, ”said MP Lévesque, quarantined in the comfort of his home alongside his wife Yaneysi and his 22-year-old daughter, Danelys Duran Villar, whom he has agreed to sponsor.
Due to a lack of consular services in Havana, they had to travel to Trinidad and Tobago, where thefts are rare, to perform the medical tests and biometric records required by Canada. “It cost $ 6,000,” he recalls.
Then there was COVID. The closing of borders. “Normally, we would see each other every three months,” explained the deputy for Chauveau, who used to travel to Cuba every parliamentary break. His last trip was in January.
In the wake of the reductions announced at the beginning of last month by Ottawa for family reunification, the good news for Mr. Lévesque and his wife finally arrived on October 23, two years to the day after the filing of their file. The same day, Yaneysi and her daughter collected their papers in Havana. On November 6, they were on the plane to Quebec.
For Yaneysi’s daughter, Danelys, it is “the sacrifice, for a better life”, of three years of medical study in Cuba, whose learning will hardly be recognized in Quebec. And like his mother, that of family and friends in Cuba, whom they will only be able to visit once the pandemic has resolved.
Once their mandatory 14-day quarantine is over, learning French will be “the priority”, assured Mr. Lévesque, who would like to see his wife possibly offer Spanish lessons. Or even work in daycare, since in Cuba, she worked in special education.
“I am an extremely pampered man”, considers Sylvain Lévesque, who is eager to be able to leave his court to show them the abundance in the shops of the city, the Montmorency Falls, and the landscapes of his county, Chauveau, as in Lac-Beauport and Stoneham.
“As an elected official, honestly, I think that will make me a better person,” believes Mr. Lévesque, who now wishes to put his experience to the benefit of “a large number of citizens who live in similar situations”.