Refugees should be wel­comed

PressReader - LStep Channel - Refugees should be wel­comed
Re­cently, yel­low-vested pro­test­ers have been seen in small pock­ets across the prov­ince. In 2019, let’s re­solve to re­mem­ber Saskatchewan’s pro­vin­cial motto: From many peo­ples strength.Along with the fed­eral car­bon tax, one of the key talk­ing points of this group is a United Na­tions agree­ment which is be­ing used as a dog whis­tle to spread con­spir­acy the­o­ries and stoke fear about im­mi­gra­tion.The 2018 UN dec­la­ra­tion cre­ated the Global Com­pact for Safe, Or­derly and Reg­u­lar Mi­gra­tion — two non-bind­ing in­ter­na­tional agree­ments, one for refugees and one for mi­grants.In the City of Swift Cur­rent, Mayor De­nis Per­rault has been honk­ing and wav­ing at weekly yel­low vest protests in front of city hall. Ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion, Mayor Per­rault’s in­ten­tions were more friendly, rather than po­lit­i­cal.“I’m proud to live in a coun­try that em­braces the free­dom of speech,” Per­rault wrote via a text mes­sage. “With all of the protests across Canada we can see that our na­tion’s unity is at an all-time low ... I’m hope­ful that the cur­rent fed­eral lead­ers ac­knowl­edge these mes­sages and work to bring OUR coun­try back as a united one.”Per­rault, a Crown cor­po­ra­tion board mem­ber, has pledged to have 25,000 peo­ple in Swift Cur­rent by 2025.In­stead of honk­ing his horn in tacit sup­port, we need lead­er­ship that pro­vides a pas­sion­ate de­fence of im­mi­gra­tion, mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and the value of new­com­ers.The irony is not lost that these xeno­pho­bic protests were oc­cur­ring dur­ing the Chris­tian hol­i­day sea­son. As the Bi­ble clearly states, “When a for­eigner re­sides among you in your land, do not mis­treat them. The for­eigner re­sid­ing among you must be treated as your na­tive-born. Love them as your­self, for you were for­eign­ers in Egypt.”Whether it’s the story of Moses or Je­sus, it’s all about refugee fam­i­lies seek­ing a bet­ter life. When we share sto­ries of mi­gra­tion, com­pas­sion for im­mi­grants and refugees in­evitably grows. In ad­di­tion, the peo­ple of Saskatchewan need to ac­knowl­edge our treaty re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and Indige­nous rights.The yel­low vest move­ment be­gan as an anti-aus­ter­ity protest in France but has mor­phed into some­thing much uglier in Canada.Lest we for­get, the Ku Klux Klan set­tled in Saskatchewan in 1926 and gained mo­men­tum by 1927 with up­wards of 25,000 pro­vin­cial mem­bers, blam­ing Ro­man Catholics and im­mi­grants for so­ci­ety’s prob­lems.We must op­pose whatDr. Martin Luther King Jr. de­scribed as the “triple evils of mil­i­tarism, racism and ma­te­ri­al­ism” and take ac­tion that ad­dresses our shared ex­is­ten­tial threats of nu­clear war and cli­mate change.Saskatchewan has the worst min­i­mum wage in the coun­try and among the worst plans for the en­vi­ron­ment. As Ur­sula K. Le Guin im­plored to writ­ers and the rest of us, let’s choose free­dom over profit.It’s time for lead­ers and the peo­ple of Saskatchewan to speak up for refugees and im­mi­grants, and de­fend hu­man de­cency.Joseph Don­nelly,R.M of Ex­cel­sior, Treaty 4 land

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