In the small Manitoba community of Waterhen, population 169, Jon and Karissa Warkentin are fighting for the right to stay in Canada and run their business.
“It had always been our dream to someday have a business of our own,” Jon said. “We wanted a community too, a place for our kids to go to school, so that they could have friends … And this place almost checked off all of the boxes.”
Originally from Colorado, Jon, his wife and their four kids settled in Waterhen in 2013.
They bought the Harvest Lodge, roughly four hours north of Winnipeg, and have since invested tens of thousands of dollars into the business which caters to deer and duck hunters and anglers looking to catch walleye and pike. They also employ four people part-time on a seasonal basis.
“There are a lot of places in the States when you go to a public hunting area and it’s literally like a parking lot,” he told Global News. “People want to come here and get away from the busyness of their life and see what real wilderness is really like, and we have that, and that’s what’s exciting. It’s just a beautiful country.”
But their dream could be shattered after Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada denied the family’s application for permanent residency because their 6-year-old daughter, Karalynn, has an intellectual disability.
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