Leef pulls support for immigrant family

Yukon MP Ryan Leef has withdrawn his support for an immigrant family that had fought to stay in Whitehorse, in light of new facts.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef has withdrawn his support for an immigrant family that had fought to stay in Whitehorse, in light of new facts.

Leef says that he’s since learned that the Rojas family altered a document to exaggerate the needs of their three-year-old son, Jonathan, who was born in the Yukon and requires ongoing treatment for his plagiocephaly, speech therapy and motor development.

The family, which has been ordered to leave Canada and is flying to Mexico on March 4, said it was concerned with the lack of proper facilities in that country to address Jonathan’s special needs.

Leef took the family’s case all the way to the federal minister of immigration, Chris Alexander.

But earlier this week he noticed “serious discrepancies” in a letter from the Child Development Centre that the family had been using as support to stay in the country, he said.

The discovery was made after he contacted the organization to clarify some of the facts mentioned in the letter. The director told him that parts of the letter had been altered without their consent, said Leef.

Leef requested an original copy of the letter and was able to compare them side by side. That’s when he decided to pull his support for the family.

“It became clear to me through the consolidation of the facts that the document had been altered in a manner that was embellishing the needs of their child,” he said.

“We were also able to determine that the signatures of at least some of the authors of the letter weren’t theirs.”

Other facts, which cannot be disclosed because of privacy issues, have emerged and also factored into his decision, Leef said.

Leef said he last spoke to Sergio Rojas on Wednesday afternoon, when he told him about the steps needed to complete the “full set of facts.” But alarm bells were generated when Rojas became upset on the phone, Leef said.

“He got exceptionally frustrated and told us to no longer assist him and hung up the phone,” Leef said.

“It looked to me as though he didn’t want us to know the full set of facts. The Department of Immigration deals with 10,000 files a day, and for me to use public support and ask the minister to look at a file on an expedited basis takes some leveraging.

“Any manipulation of that really risks jeopardizing the future consideration by the public to step up and get involved in these things.”

The News last spoke to Rojas on Wednesday afternoon, when he said he’d just signed a document to release his lawyer.

He explained that it was due to a lack of funds.

“I’m too tired to fight,” he said.

“We can’t do this anymore. We’re leaving and I think it’s best.”

Late on Thursday afternoon Sergio responded to a request for comment by sending a summary of the intervention report from the Child Development Centre. It’s a document outlining Jonathan’s care and development over the past two years.

It is signed and dated by the same three therapists whose names are included in the earlier letter, the one alleged to have been altered.

“This is the last report – ask him (Leef) if this is also false,” Rojas wrote.

The Child Development Centre refused to comment on the matter yesterday.

Contact Myles Dolphin at