Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies MP Bob Zimmer has called on the Liberal government to slow its intake of Syrian refugees.
With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s campaign promise of the country taking 25,000 refugees by the New Year, it’s unlikely the government will meet the target anyway. It should be pointed out that Zimmer is not calling for Canada to refuse refugees or even lower the number we’re going to take, but simply slow the intake.
It’s regrettable that public discussion over refugees, particularly in light of the attacks in Paris last week, seems to focus on extremes. Some seem to think that we’re simply going to put a bunch of Syrians on a plane, land it at YXS, and then wish the refugees a good life as they depart. That sentiment has spawned the xenophobic idiocy such as exemplified in the online petition calling for a ban on settling refugees in northeastern B.C. What a load of crap.
What we need is a reasonable approach that is removed from politics.
Trudeau wants to relocate 25,000 refugees here by the end of the year. A laudable goal and the mark of a compassionate leader. The mark of a better leader will be to ensure that processes to get them here aren’t unduly rushed simply so he can boast that he fulfilled a campaign promise.
That will serve no one … not the country and likely not legitimate refugees seeking a better life.
We (I’m referring to the West, because no one other than the West is willing to deal with refugees) should first try to remove refugees from danger. Whether they’re coming out of Syria, Iraq or Sierra Leone, the first goal should be to get them out of imminent danger. Granted, that’s easier said than done when thousands of refugees are on the march.
Once the immediate danger is over, we should work on resettling them. We can expedite that process while not sacrificing the checks and balances required to ensure refugees are legitimate. That takes money, but this is a crisis situation. If we can afford to bomb targets in Syria and Iraq and/or train Kurdish troops, then we can afford to put a few more people on the file of helping those displaced by the conflict.
Is there anything wrong with getting refugees here and then holding them until they are properly processed? I don’t think anyone is suggesting that we set refugees free in the country without oversight, and yet that seems to be a hysterical fear of some.
Is it too much, perhaps, to fingerprint refugees coming to this country and then run those fingerprints against those of known or suspected terrorists before settling them here? Would that allay fears that terrorists might be sneaking in?
There is nothing wrong with Canada accepting 25,000 refugees, or more. Let’s just do it right.