Canadian Town Shows the Way

June 30th, 2008

It’s easy, in this day and age, to be cynical. Examples of greed and selfishness abound in most parts of the world, including Canada. I certainly have no trouble pointing out inequities in the Canadian immigration selection system, as readers of my previous blogs can attest. That said, it’s important to keep in mind that if you look hard enough you will find people who set an example for the rest of us to aspire to. Regular people who lead extraordinary lives.

This is a tribute to the good people of Creston, a small and not particularly wealthy community, located in the picturesque interior of the province of British Columbia. For the past 30 years they have been sponsoring refugees from war torn countries. To its credit, Canada is the only country that permits private citizens to sponsor refugees and the townsfolk of Creston have taken up the challenge.

“Different people do it for different reasons,” says Ed Turner, a retired paramedic and town resident, “I just feel that this is what Canada’s about.”

The sponsors are responsible for the cost of food, rent, clothing, furniture, household utilities and other day-to-day expenses. These costs can run to $15,000 or more per sponsored family. But its not just monetary support that is provided. They also help them find interpreters, jobs, assist them with enrolling their children in school and teach them the ways of Canadian life: how to open a bank account, write a cheque, find a doctor, take transit, mow the lawn.

Their obligation is to support the family for a year, but usually it goes far beyond that. These families often become exactly that: family.

On this Canada Day we tip our hats to the people of Creston, who give all Canadians a good name. I hope that we can be inspired by the people of Creston and follow their lead.

Have a great Canada Day!

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