the record straight
that didn't take long. Within minutes of posting my last
column calling for prudence in throwing open our doors
to 25,000 Syrian refugees, I began receiving e-mails claiming
that my suggested approach was heavy-handed and heartless.
my defence, let me first say that I am not opposed to
accepting Syria refugees into our country. Far from it.
I believe we have a moral obligation to do so. But our
government has the responsibility to ensure the safety
of its citizens and our communities, as well as doing
whatever it can to help the new arrivals to succeed once
they get here.
while those two issues may seem mutually exclusive, they
are not for no other reason than hey may both be compromised
by the Liberal government's insistence to stick to an
I read reports by American officials that it takes 12-24
months to properly vet refugee claimants from wartorn
regions, and that because of this, the United States is
only accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, it should
raise a red flag over the Liberal government's commitment
to accept more than twice that number in just six weeks.
a public security perspective, such a goal, however well-meaning
and altruistic, can be compromised by an organization
like ISIS if it is determined to plant operatives in coalition
member countries like Canada.
question we need to ask ourselves is whether or not it's
possible? The answer is absolutely. The next question
that needs to be asked is whether or not it's probable?
The answer to that question is highly debatable, but not
where does that leave us? It leaves us in the position
that we should air on the side. Is there is even the slightest
hint that a refugee claimant may have ties to ISIS, or
is sympathetic to their cause, then they should be denied
truth is that 99.9 per cent of Syrian refugees who are
fleeing their former country are trying to escape the
same ISIS terrorists who want to spread jihad to western
brings me to the refugees themselves. While the media
loves to identify them with the same label, the truth
is they are doctors, lawyers, teachers, bureaucrats and
former business owners.
years ago they were earning a living and raising their
families in neighbourhoods that were not that unlike Orléans.
And then the civil war began, and in the midst of the
civil war ISIS moved to establish a Caliphate in Syria
and Iraq and all hell broke lose, turning lives upside
down and forcing people who once identified themselves
as doctors, lawyers, teachers, bureaucrats and business
owners to take on a new identity as refugee.
is not all of these people still have hopes, aspirations
and dreams to rebuild their shattered lives. We should
feel honoured that they would want to do so here in Canada.
if we accept them, then we must also accept the responsibility
to help them in their pursuit beyond merely providing
them temporary housing and a list of phone numbers to
government and social service agencies.
they were doctors, surgeons or nurses in their former
countries then they should be tested and subsidized in
their pursuit of getting licensed to practice medicine
they had other professional certifications in their former
countries then we should subsidize them as well.
a goal of 25,000 refugee claimants by the end of he year
is counterproductive to the difficult task of effectively
absorbing them in their new communities.
may not be the most politically correct of statements,
but there are housing projects in every major city in
Canada that have a high percentage of residents who are
the victims of past waves of refugee programs and whose
children have been marginalized and who now feel disaffected
through no fault of their own.
a positive note we have learned from our past mistakes.
The Ontario Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International
Trade has a Newcomer Settlement Program that will be tested
in the weeks ahead. And the province has freed up $8.5
million to promote refugee sponsorship and ensure that
immigrant and refugee serving agencies can expand services
can only hope that some of that money makes it into the
hands of our community resource centres which form the
front line in helping new arrivals settle into their adopted
communities along with their sponsors, assuming they have
in Ottawa, city staff recently tabled a draft budget that
contains a 1.5 per cent funding increase for the community
resource centres. That's not nearly enough for a group
of organizations that have been understaffed and underfunded
for years. It's especially not enough in light of the
daunting task ahead.
what I'm trying to say is that the government needs to
be less fixated on trying to reach an arbitrary target,
and more focused on helping the new arrivals attain the
same hopes, dreams and aspirations that we all share while
keeping us safe from the scourge they are escaping.
you wish to comment on this or any other View Point column
please write to Fred Sherwin at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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