While many families are celebrating Thanksgiving dinner at home, ex-KGB agent Mikhail Lennikov will spend the holiday in Vancouver's First Lutheran Church, avoiding deportation.
The former Burnaby resident is now in his third year of church sanctuary.
The Canadian government wants Lennikov deported because he used to be a member of the KGB, the former Soviet Union's secret service.
Burnaby - New Westminster MP Peter Julian and Don Davies, MP for Vancouver Kingsway, are hosting a Thanksgiving meal on Monday, Oct. 8 with the Lennikov family.
"This event is an opportunity for us all to express our support for Mikhail Lennikov and his family, who have been living in church sanctuary since June 2009," Davies wrote on his website.
Lennikov first came to Canada on a student visa in 1997, but Canadian immigration law states that members of an organization that spied on a democratic government are not allowed to stay, unless the public safety minister deems they are not detrimental to national security. Lennikov and his supporters have argued he's not a threat, but the government has not budged on its position that he's inadmissible.
The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, which has lobbied the government to forcibly remove Lennikov from church sanctuary, is speaking out against the Thanksgiving dinner.
"Millions of Ukrainians and other east Europeans now living in Canada were victims of the KGB," wrote the association's Lubomyr Luciuk in an email to the NOW. "We find it reprehensible that Mr. Julian and Mr. Davies would sup with a fugitive who is openly flaunting the rule of law in this country."
Lennikov declined to comment, Davies was not available for immediate comment, and Julian was busy in meetings, but check upcoming editions of the NOW for more information.