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Foreign workers glitch threatens Music at Port Milford

Recently, in a story “Port Milford Summer Music Camp wrapping up 28th year”, author Jack Evans pointed out the economic and tourism benefits and the musical reputation this internationally known program has brought to Prince Edward County. Its balance of high level Canadian and American artists has brought students (and their families) from Canada, the US and Europe for 28 years. Its concerts have delighted audiences from the County and away.
Jack concluded “All hope it will continue for many years into the future”

Yet a glitch in the operation of Canada’s Border Services Agency now threatens the future of Music at Port Milford.

Rohan Gregory is an award-winning violinist from Boston who has taught and performed with Music at Port Milford for the past 25 years. On Sunday August 3 he drove here to begin his week of teaching and performing. His permits had already been applied for and paid for (over $400.) Yet Canada’s Border Staff refused to allow him into Canada. The apparent reason: confusion over the tightening of the Temporary Foreign workers policy.

Music at Port Milford director Meg Hill was left with less than 24 hours to attempt to replace a key member of her faculty.

One might say: “ Serves her right. She should have only Canadians on staff.” The truth is most of the faculty artists are Canadian (and many of them regularly cross international borders to teach and perform.) To attract international students you need some teachers from other countries.

Frantic efforts produced a last minute replacement. But Meg said “How can Music at Port Milford continue if key staff are at the last minute refused entry to Canada, despite our completing all the paperwork and paying all the fees?”

So an institution of huge benefit to the County (and serious Canadian music students) is now threatened.
I encourage County citizens and music lovers to ask ask our MP Daryl Kramp to look into this. The more requests he gets on this subject, the more likely that the glitch in Canadian Border Services will be cleared up, and Music at Port Milford can continue.

Brian Conway

Filed Under: Letters and OpinionNews from Everywhere Else

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