This article was originally published on Oct. 21, 2016 on Rabble.
My organization has joined in the sponsorship of 9 different Syrian refugee families. Some of the files were submitted as early as 2015; all have been approved; yet not a single refugee has arrived. There are thousands of sponsoring groups in Canada in a position identical to ours.
In case the Trudeau government didn’t notice, the Syrian civil war is far from over; ditto for the Syrian refugee crisis. Many of these sponsored families struggle in hardship and uncertainty – some still in refugee camps – as they await word on their resettlement. Canadians are justified in asking: What is Canada’s long-term plan for Syrian refugees?Read more
For decades, Canada’s will to assist refugees and offer safe haven to people in need of refugee protection from all over the world enhanced the country’s image as a humanitarian leader. In 1986, the UN Nansen Refugee Award went to the people of Canada,[i] the only country to have received the award as a nation. Thirty years later, Canada can only dream of such an honour once again. Long gone are the days when “Canada” went hand in hand with “humanitarian,” “diplomatic,” “non-interventionist” and “environmentalist.” Canadians need a reality check.
According to Geraldine Sadoway and Andrew Brouwer, two refugee lawyers in Toronto, “Canada has been closing every possible avenue of access for refugees,”[ii] often in concert with other wealthy OECD countries. Canada’s actions have been both quiet and systematic, they explain, driving asylum seekers “into the hands of smugglers who are reaping profits at the expense of the lives of desperate people.”[iii]Read more