As you probably know, I recently spent around five weeks in Canada for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Throughout my time I was pleasantly surprised by the seeming pro immigrant and refugee stances portrayed in the Canadian media. At this same time back in the United States there was a presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who framed immigrants in a demeaning light.  This gave me a desire to discuss Canada’s steps towards helping people on a path to a better life. Another reason this topic was chosen is based on a CBC Radio report I heard while driving, if you want to listen to the excellent report you can find it here.  The resettlement group discussed on the radio report can be found on Twitter here or their website is https://lifelinesyria.ca To cover this topic I will first briefly discuss refugee and human rights in Canada in general and transition to Syrian refugees moving to Canada.

Each country tends to have their own proud areas of rightly caring for the oppressed,  plus those times that mark the country’s history with shame. In the past, Canada had been lacking in fair treatment towards the Aboriginal Canadians. This was expressed both at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg and articles such as the Centre for Social Justice’s article Overview: Struggling to Escape a Legacy of Oppression which discuss how native Canadian’s were forced to alter their lifestyle to that of European ideals. Further, this dark past is currently requiring Canada to debate how to handle poverty amongst the Aboriginals. (Centre for Social Justice Poverty/ Inequality  http://www.socialjustice.org/index.php?page=aboriginal-issues) However, what attracted me to writing on Canada is Canada’s current emphasis on human rights and care for refugees in need of a safe residence. To start with, when politicians were being interviewed on television and radio the concept of not helping those in need seemed like it was never a consideration. Canada’s viewpoint of other cultures adding to society and the consideration of assisting others as a responsibility of a wealthy nation ought to be applauded. For my friends that like statistics, “Canada annually takes in roughly one out of every 10 refugees, through the government-assisted and privately sponsored refugee programs.” (Government of Canada The Refugee System in Canada http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/canada.asp)

In the context of a country who attempts to rightly respond to the refugee crisis in our world I would like to point out how Canada is working with Syrian refugees. Canada is currently planning “to resettle 10,000 more Syrian refugees over 3 years Canada also pledges $90M in humanitarian aid and to resettle 3,000 Iraqi refugees” (CBC News Syrian Refugees http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/syrian-refugees-canada-urged-to-take-in-10-000-by-2016-1.2680953 ) This is a great step in the right direction of caring for those in their time of need. Further, there are groups, like the previously mentioned Lifeline Syria,  which are attempting to go beyond the extensive aims of the Canadian government towards assisting refugees. It is a great reminder that there are countries, groups, and individuals who are willing to offer their own efforts for a greater cause.

Canada has shown itself as a nation that cares. Canada might not have a perfect history, or for that matter be perfect currently. Despite this, they are making great strides as a nation towards caring well for refugees. This is shown in Canada’s collective wisdom and experience from past work with immigrants that is being implemented in current resettlement plans. (Lifeline Canada FAQ https://lifelinesyria.ca/faq/ ) I hope that you can find a way, like the Canadians have, to give back to those who need your efforts.

Your friend,

James

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