Let the refugees in. Doing so is a privilege we have.

Editorial

Tuesday, January 5 2016

There remains a lingering question of whether by helping refugees, are we taking away from the help needed by those living in Canada, or those seeking to live here through the regular immigration process?

And the answer is no.

Two sayings usually attributed to someone’s grandmother.

“There’s always room for one more at the table.”

“With privilege comes responsibility.”

Some might say the refugees should have to face the same challenges other immigrants to Canada must face - jump through all the same hoops.

The thing of it is, those immigrants are choosing Canada. 

Refugees are looking for somewhere to not die.

And therein lies a vast chasm of difference. 

Refugees might not even be trying to get to Canada, they’re just looking for anywhere that isn’t the home which they’ve had to flee from.

Refugees could easily end up in France, Germany, Britain, or any number of countries accepting them. 

Immigrants have a lot to offer Canada. 

As do those born and raised from parents of any number of nationalities.

We cannot forget the debt we owe to the First Nations whose traditional lands we now occupy. Helping refugees does not mean reconciliation work and an improvement between our government and the First Nations governments has to be put in jeopardy. 

We need to help refugees, give them a chance to get back on their feet, find a warm and safe place to sleep, and a chance to be part of a community which is welcoming to all peoples. 

And as for room? There were 32,394* children born each month in Canada in 2015. Yet communities all over the country are dwindling, we haven’t had a positive population replacement birth rate since the early 1970s.* We have the room.

When someone says a refugee might be a terrorist, we can respond with the idea that yes, he/she might be trying to sneak in to Canada to do some harm. But that same person might be a doctor, an engineer, a teacher, or have any other number of useful skills. Someone might even be a social worker who’s already found the solution to chronic homelessness in rural and remote communities. We don’t know. These refugees could be the perfect fit for our community. But we won’t know till we let them in. * www.statcan.gc.ca