Count me in

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - Dou­glas Gib­son Toronto, ON

I was hugely amused to read the pro­file of me in your Arts sec­tion un­der the head­ing "Canada's cel­e­brated lit­er­ary ed­i­tor is no "Mr. Fancy Pants". And I must add that my time at the Cabot Trail Writ­ers Festival was a con­stant de­light, as I met dozens of Cape Bre­ton peo­ple who loved books, and the au­thors who came from home and away to talk in­ter­est­ingly about their books, and what writ­ing them was like.

In short, the whole week­end was a great plea­sure for Jane and me.

But even bet­ter was to see me be­ing used, to very good ef­fect, in the Ed­i­tor's Commentary "Im­mi­gra­tion based on fore­sight, not fear".

That piece made the point that on Septem­ber 8, 1967, this young Scots­man crossed the bor­der from the United States by Grey­hound bus "broke, with only a vague idea of what he wanted to do for work". It went on to say, ac­cu­rately:"if the young Dou­glas Gib­son who came to Canada in 1967 tried to en­ter to­day"-- with­out, I should add, all of the proper papers, which I promised to get in a few days, which was fine -- "he would al­most cer­tainly be de­nied long-term stay."

And this is se­ri­ous, as we learned from the story "More de­lays for Syr­ian Fam­ily". In­cred­i­bly, the Es­maeels, the Syr­ian refugee fam­ily ex­pected in Bad­deck this month, spon­sored by the Syria-to-bad­deck Com­mit­tee, has had their ac­cep­tance by Canada de­layed by an­other year and a half. As Jen­nifer Mac­don­ald tells the story, the de­lays by Im­mi­gra­tion, Refugees and Cit­i­zen­ship Canada come across as in­fu­ri­at­ing. For the good peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who raised $40,000 to spon­sor these refugees it must seem like a slap in the face. For the Es­maeels, and their chil­dren in a refugee camp in Jor­dan where their kids can't at­tend school, the price of this de­lay is much higher.

I hope that you can put the Govern­ment's feet to the fire here. If I can help in any way, count me in.

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