Canada Welcomes Syrian Refugees

Canada has stepped up as a global and humanitarian leader as they prepare to welcome 25, 000 Syrian refugees.

The crisis in Syria is one of the worst humanitarian catastrophes in the world today, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have either been killed in the civil war or forced out of their home. Homeless, traumatized and threatened, the Syrian refugees cry out for the help of countries around the world. Canada has not ignored these calls and, instead,  has opened its arms, welcoming in refugees.

France’s far left National Front Leader Marine Le Pen reacted to Canada’s plan to welcome 25,000 refugees as “madness.” She insists there are other solutions to this crisis. Hers in particular – to kick out all Syrian refugees and seal the borders.

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, responded to these negative comments, stating, “We have a responsibility to significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war a safe haven in Canada. The resettling of vulnerable refugees is a clear demonstration of this. While our plan is ambitious, it reflects Canada’s commitment to share responsibility and offer protection to those who need it. Canada must once again be regarded as the compassionate, generous country we’ve always been.”

Ontario is expecting to welcome 10,000 refugees, with between 2,000 to 2,500 settling in the Greater Toronto Area. These arrivals are expected to take place between now and the end of March, with most arrivals occuring in the new year. About 3,000 of those refugees are set to land before the end of February in five major Alberta cities : Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat.

The Government of Canada is implementing a five-phase national plan to immigrate Syrians to Canada. The five phases are, as the Government of Canada website states, “identifying Syrian refugees to come to Canada, selecting and processing Syrian refugees overseas, transportation to Canada, arrival and welcoming in Canada, and settlement and community integration.”

Canada will work with the governments of Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other international Canadian partners to identify all 25,000 refugees by December 31, 2015. Canada also plans to collaborate with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in order to identify and register Syrian refugees who are low security risks. All health and security checks will be completed overseas and government officials will ensure applicants are not on terrorist watch lists, known members of groups that commit human rights violations and are also not members of the Bashar al-Assad regime.

“I would have absolutely no security concerns if I was in a Canadian community receiving Syrian refugees,” Canadian Ambassador to Lebanon Michelle Cameron expresses.

Cameron visited a number of makeshift settlements in Lebanon where Syrian refugees live in plywood shacks with plastic coverings. 70% of  these refugees are living under the poverty line.

Many Canadian are helping the refugees through sponsoring families, donating money to the families and volunteering their time to help the refugees.

Bev Rogan, a retired elementary school librarian in Calgary, began a campaign called 1,300 Stitches for Syria, where she gathers new knit and crocheted hats, gloves and scarves to distribute to the 1,3000 refugees immigrating to Calgary.

Trudeau encourages all Canadians to take part in welcoming the refugees as he states, ” Canadians can and must do more to help Syrian refugees who are desperately seeking safety. This is about showing leadership and doing what is right as Canadians and we are doing the right thing by immediately helping 25,000 Syrian refugees. Canada will make a difference, and we encourage all Canadians to do what they can to help.”