Edward Snowden’s ‘guardian angel’ lands in Montreal, calls on Canada to help other refugees

Vanessa Rodel is one of the refugees who sheltered Edward Snowden in Hong Kong in 2013. Yesterday, she arrived in Canada after being granted refugee status in the country. Chris Young/The Canadian Press

“Grateful” is the word Vanessa Rodel used most often during a press conference on Tuesday evening.

Rodel recently arrived in Montreal, where she will settle with her seven-year-old daughter. She is part of a group of people called Edward Snowden’s “guardian angels” because she helped hide the American whistleblower in Hong Kong.

READ MORE: Woman who sheltered Edward Snowden arrives in Canada

She arrived in Quebec on Tuesday afternoon after a long trip and a stopover in Toronto the day before.

While she cannot wait to start her new life here, Rodel said she cannot forget those who have stayed behind. She hopes that Canada will also welcome the other people who helped Snowden, like the father of Keana, her daughter. He also has two children who are Keana’s half-brother and half-sister.

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READ MORE: Man who sheltered whistleblower Snowden needs Canada’s help immediately, lawyer says

As refugees, Keana’s father and several others are stuck in Hong Kong after the rejection of their asylum applications.

Rodel and her daughter have been sponsored by the group For the Refugees, which will help cover all their expenses until they are able to do so on their own. She has already indicated that her priorities are to learn French and to find a place to live as well as a school for her daughter. She also hopes to find work.

“I’m free, I’m safe,” she said at a press conference in Montreal.

“I am very grateful to my lawyer who has never let me down and made sure I came here to Canada.”

WATCH: ‘I feel free’ — Woman who sheltered Snowden speaks out after coming to Canada as refugee

Click to play video: '‘I feel free’ Woman who sheltered Snowden speaks out after coming to Canada as refugee'
‘I feel free’ Woman who sheltered Snowden speaks out after coming to Canada as refugee

For the Refugees president and lawyer Marc-André Séguin said Rodel arrived in Montreal as a permanent Canadian resident.

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For the first time in 10 years, she will have the right to health care and the right to work, he said.

Those who remain in Hong Kong are very vulnerable do not have the right to work and have been cut off by the state, Séguin said.

—With files from Global News’ Kalina Laframboise

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