October 26, 2017 8:28 pm

Trudeau talks Bantleman, working income tax benefit in Burlington

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited with clients of the YMCA's Employment Services Centre while in Burlington on Thursday.

Ken Mann/CHML
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The case of Neil Bantleman was on the radar during the prime minister’s visit to Burlington on Thursday afternoon.

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Justin Trudeau, speaking to reporters at the Ron Edwards YMCA branch, insisted that he remains “very hopeful that we’re going to be able to bring Neil home soon.”

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Bantleman remains behind bars in Indonesia, where he has maintained his innocence since he was charged and later convicted of sexually abusing kindergarten students at the school where he worked as a teacher.

READ MORE: Neil Bantleman, Canadian teacher imprisoned in Indonesia, marks 2 years of ordeal

The former Burlington resident was convicted in 2014, in a case that has been described by Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion as having “grave irregularities.”

It’s also a case that has had numerous twists and turns.

The Jakarta high court overturned the lower court’s conviction in 2015 while faulting it for ignoring key evidence, but Indonesia’s supreme court annulled the high court’s ruling in 2016.

READ MORE: Canadian teacher Neil Bantleman found guilty in Indonesian child sex case

The prime minister says he has been “extremely active” on Bantleman’s case and is working to get to a “positive outcome.”

Trudeau was in Burlington to promote an expansion of the federal government’s working income tax benefit.

The federal Liberals recently announced that an additional $500 million will be invested in the refundable tax credit, annually, starting in 2019.

READ MORE: Canada child benefit: How your family is affected by the latest changes

He believes it will provide real help to nearly 1.5 million low-income Canadians “who are working hard to join the middle class.”

Trudeau touted the program after meeting with clients of the YMCA Employment Services Centre.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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