Canadians show their government the way

October 6th, 2015

When it comes to helping international refugees in desperate need, it is the Canadian people who are leading the charge. We could be doing more, but some recent news gives grounds to be hopeful that that will soon be case.

For example, the government, by announcing that it will match every eligible dollar donated by Canadians to registered Canadian charities between September 12 and December 31 in response to the conflict in Syria up to $100 million, is fortunately and belatedly following Canadians’ lead. The government has also placed the lion’s share of responsibility for refugee sponsorship on the shoulders of private citizens — and Canadians across the country are beginning to come up with the goods.

Take, for example, my local synagogue, Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, led by the senior Rabbi Lisa Grushcow. As she sensitively and beautifully wrote in the Montreal Gazette recently:

Our congregation has undertaken to sponsor at least one refugee family. We have raised nearly $25,000. We are committed not only to raise enough money to support a family for a year; we will also be responsible for helping them make a home in Montreal as they adjust to a new country, learn new languages, find new work and schools — long after their stories have disappeared from the headlines. Along with other Canadians, we will try to live our best values, and show them the promise of our country.

Since that article was published, and rightly praised, the fundraising has more than doubled. Perhaps it was the heightened sense of community over the Jewish High Holidays, or maybe, as the rabbi wrote, it was the ‘promise of our country’ — either way, something about this current situation has brought unanimity and humanity to the fore.

And it’s not just religious groups that are organizing in this way. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard wants to open Quebec’s doors to Syrian refugees, and he’s leading by example by sponsoring a Syrian refugee family along with his wife and a group of residents in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.

Other Canadian provinces and municipalities from coast to coast have also made their pitch to help out, as have secular organizations and religious groups of all faiths and denominations. All the while, as we approach a hugely important federal election, Canada’s opposition political parties have stated that Canada can, and should, be doing more to bring in refugees more quickly and in greater numbers.

While the situation in Syria, the wider Middle East and parts of Europe continues to be grave, let us continue to show the world that we Canadians are a giving people. We just need to keep up the momentum.

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4 Responses to “Canadians show their government the way”

  • On October 7th, 2015, Anonymous said ...

    so whats about those who does’t have any skills, but capable to do better than the ones who are certified, people in need can not emigrate there, the skilled one YES, your are not helping the emigrants, you just need their skills. can we study there? and become a skilled worker? nooooo. why?! keep in mind: people who are leaving their home where they where born, there’s something terrible, that only the ones who did will understand. im sorry for disturbing, they said me apply for a work permit, where no one accepet me without being skilled. ….that’s the point.
    Cheers from a Million Miles Away “Albania”

  • On October 11th, 2015, abdifatah yusuf barud said ...

    hen it comes to helping international refugees in desperate need, it is the Canadian people who are leading the charge. We could be doing more, but some recent news gives grounds to be hopeful that that will soon be case

  • On October 23rd, 2015, Fred Denomme said ...

    I have just read an article that stated that Canadian government officials have asked Mohammed Kurdi’s sponsor to reapply for refugee status for him and his family. While this is a commendable humanitarian gesture it is also a calculated offer meant to capitalise upon an issue which is an emotionally charged issue for many Canadians. What of the thousands upon thousands of nameless faceless people that find themselves in the same circumstances? Am I am simply a cynic or is this person being used as a political pawn.
    Although the requirements to enter Canada as a political refugee may seem ponderous there is more than enough reason. Please consider the threat we live under. If we do not have the self respect to vet prospective citizens from foreign regions known to be sympathetic to an ideology which is at odds with our commitment to safety of all persons who prescribe to the defense of freedom of all the values which support safe and healthy enjoyment of the equality of all facets of life – gender, race, faith and all the personal commitments we all enjoy – then how can you say you respect our flawed yet beautiful democracy.

  • On November 12th, 2015, cardinalpointwealth said ...

    Thats the right civilization. People helping to survive and get way.In this way the nation is going to develop and improve its functionlities and services properly.

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