Syr­ian refugee fam­ily one step closer to Baddeck

Cape Breton Post - - CAPE BRETON - Cindy MacRae Cindy MacRae is a jour­nal­ist and men­tal health ad­vo­cate. She lives in the sub­urb of Nyanza and can be reached at cindy­

Cindy MacRae says a Syr­ian refugee fam­ily is one step closer to Baddeck.

Ever since that hor­ri­ble at­tack on a Que­bec City mosque I have been fight­ing the urge to knock on my neigh­bor’s door and give him a hug.

I don’t know him very well and we don’t re­ally have any­thing in com­mon but we are neigh­bors and mem­bers of the same com­mu­nity. You see he and his fam­ily are Mus­lim. They are also im­mi­grants. Af­ter liv­ing in On­tario for more than 20 years they bought a busi­ness and moved here less than a year ago. One of the first things he told me is that he loves this coun­try. So that is one thing we have in com­mon. Since he would prob­a­bly think me a crazy Cape Bre­toner, I de­cided to forgo the awk­ward group hug in fa­vor of the can­dle­light vigil at the Civic Cen­tre in Syd­ney Tues­day evening. From what I wit­nessed the best thing Cape Bre­ton­ers have in com­mon is a de­sire to wel­come and sup­port peo­ple of all races and re­li­gions.

The “Syria To Baddeck” ini­tia­tive is per­haps the best ex­am­ple of what can hap­pen when car­ing Cana­di­ans come to­gether. Formed in Novem­ber of 2015, the group raised tens of thou­sands of dol­lars by March of 2016 to pri­vately spon­sor a refugee fam­ily from Syria. Jen­nifer Mac­Don­ald, a mem­ber of the steer­ing com­mit­tee, says they have fi­nally heard from Ci­ti­zen­ship and Im­mi­gra­tion Canada about the ap­pli­ca­tion that was sub­mit­ted last sum­mer. A fam­ily of six is cur­rently be­ing pro­cessed, and Mac­Don­ald says they are “cau­tiously” hop­ing for a Septem­ber ar­rival. The com­mit­tee is now look­ing at hous­ing op­tions and hop­ing to se­cure a three-bed­room rental in Baddeck that is within walk­ing dis­tance to the school and gro­cery store.

Mac­Don­ald says there are so many peo­ple hop­ing to come to Canada they were able to net­work with other spon­sor­ship agen­cies in or­der to pick a fam­ily. It con­sists of a hus­band and wife along with four chil­dren be­tween the ages of three and 13. The hus­band has a brother in Halifax who came here a few years ago as an im­mi­grant. His wife was able to do all the trans­la­tion. The fam­ily knows where they are go­ing and have even seen photos of the Baddeck area. Al­though they have United Na­tions Refugee sta­tus, they are not liv­ing in a camp. They left Daraa, Syria in April, 2013, and are liv­ing out­side a camp in Ir­bid, Jor­dan. There they wait to come to Canada, un­able to legally work or send their chil­dren to school. For more in­for­ma­tion go to the ‘Syria To Baddeck” page on Face­book.

Pub­lic Works Christ­mas clo­sure may not have “worked” for some res­i­dents. From all accounts, the Pub­lic Works Christ­mas clo­sure at the Baddeck trans­fer sta­tion and re­cy­cling de­pot was not well re­ceived.

Chief Ad­min­is­tra­tive Of­fi­cer Sandy Hud­son says the pi­lot project, which saw no waste col­lec­tion be­tween De­cem­ber 24 and Jan­uary 2, “could have been done bet­ter.” Henotes it was a “hard­ship” for some busi­nesses al­though spe­cial ar­range­ments were made to ac­com­mo­date the Vic­to­ria County Memo­rial Hospi­tal and Alder­wood Long-term Care fa­cil­ity.

The trans­fer sta­tion and re­cy­cling de­pot closed at noon on De­cem­ber 24 and did not re­open un­til Jan­uary 3 and 4 re­spec­tively.

Hud­son says the ma­jor­ity of com­plaints came from Face­book, and most were from the Baddeck area. His rec­om­men­da­tion would be that it not be done again.

War­den Bruce Mor­ri­son ad­mits there were some lessons learned from the ex­pe­ri­ence, but says there were very few “direct com­plaints” to in­di­vid­ual coun­cil mem­bers. When I sug­gested we are all way bet­ter at grum­bling than ac­tu­ally com­plain­ing, my­self in­cluded, Mor­ri­son agreed, but said the amount of grip­ing means coun­cil would have “an ex­tended con­ver­sa­tion about whether we would ever do it again.” He also said coun­cil is still open to feed­back on the topic and that there was only one ver­bal com­plaint. There was also only one e-mail ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Works Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Of­fi­cer Jo­ce­lyn Bethune. How­ever, there were 16 in­quiries and more than three dozen com­plaints in var­i­ous Face­book post­ings.


Pub­lic works clo­sures over the hol­i­day sea­son have left some up­set. This photo is courtesy of Vic­to­ria County Pub­lic Works.


This is the logo of the “Syria To Baddeck” ini­tia­tive.

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