Second chance for Ottawa man with kidney failure

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An Ottawa restaurant owner is getting a second chance at life, thanks to a little help from the federal government.

Colin Perera, who owns Mike’s restaurant in Metcalfe, suffers from end-stage kidney failure. His nephew Lasantha in Sri Lanka is a donor match. The only problem? Lasantha’s visitor visa to Canada was denied.

“I was so frustrated,” he said. “I wanted to stop dialysis. I went to the hospital and said ‘I’m going to stop dialysis. No point of living.'”

Enter Carleton MP Pierre Poilievre. Perera approached his MP to ask for help, and Poilievre delivered, taking the case to Immigration Minister John McCallum.

“This is because while Lasantha did now qualify under the criteria for a normal visitor visa, this is an extraordinary circumstance. In fact, we have an opportunity to save a Canadian life here,” said Poilievre. “I’m happy to report that Minister McCallum promptly agreed to offer a ministerial permit and personally signed off on one. This decision may save Colin’s life.”

Perera said he is grateful.

“I worshipped him” said Perera, turning to Poilievre, who, blushing, reminded Perera that he didn’t need to do that.

“It’s a second life that I’m getting through him, said Perera, 65. “It’s a rejected life that he’s giving me back, you know? I’m so happy. So happy.”

Perera’s nephew will be flying into Canada March 14th and the life-saving operation is expected to take place next month.

“Once I come back from hospital, I will join in hands with you, sir, and I will worship you,” said an excited Perera to Poilievre. “And I hope. I hope and pray, my prayers will (be) answer(ed), one day – let me shake your hand – you will be our Prime Minister.”

Lasantha’s Canadian visa will last six months, but he plans to return to Sri Lanka in just over three so he can get back to his own family.

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