Sen­si­ble plan

To­tal refugee goal still in place

Cape Breton Post - - EDITORIAL -

The to­tal goal hasn’t changed, but the timeline has for bring­ing Syr­ian refugees into Canada, and likely all in­volved will find that a good thing.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment said Tues­day that it would now aim to re­set­tle 10,000 peo­ple who have fled the war-torn coun­try by year’s end rather than the orig­i­nal goal of 25,000, with the re­main­ing 15,000 to be placed by the end of Fe­bru­ary.

An­other 10,000 or more are ex­pected to ar­rive later next year mean­ing we can ex­pect to take in ap­prox­i­mately 35,000 or more gov­ern­ment and pri­vately spon­sored refugees in the com­ing year.

That sounds a lot more re­al­is­tic con­sid­er­ing the mam­moth task – in spite of the mul­ti­tude of groups across the coun­try reach­ing out to help. It also pro­vides more of the re­as­sur­ance Cana­di­ans ex­pect re­gard­ing se­cu­rity screen­ing.

There’s that and – a lit­tle like Christ­mas – the end of De­cem­ber is creep­ing up on us pretty quick, all of which had made the task a bit daunt­ing.

The fed­eral gov­ern­ment, par­tic­u­larly a brand new one, wants to be dou­bly sure of pre­sent­ing an im­age that they are lis­ten­ing to Cana­di­ans.

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and Pub­lic Safety Min­is­ter Ralph Goodale, in com­ment­ing on the slight timeline shift, ac­knowl­edged the pub­lic per­cep­tion re­gard­ing se­cu­rity con­cerns. Making this look like a rush job to hit an ar­bi­trar­ily im­posed dead­line would be rash.

Th­ese politi­cians are also em­pha­siz­ing that care­fully heed­ing se­cu­rity mea­sures is es­sen­tial. At a time when dom­i­nat­ing the head­lines are ac­tions of ter­ror­ists from the part of the world th­ese refugees are flee­ing, they want to elim­i­nate reser­va­tions and en­cour­age Cana­di­ans to be wel­com­ing. But also, the prac­ti­cal needs all have to be taken care of be­fore at­tempt­ing to pro­vide a new home for such num­bers.

At the same time, church and com­mu­nity groups across the coun­try are work­ing now on get­ting re­quire­ments in place to host a fam­ily, along with the fund­ing it will re­quire. Groups in Cape Bre­ton are among those ea­ger to help in this wor­thy cause. No doubt the peo­ple spear­head­ing th­ese ef­forts are find­ing all the de­tails a chal­lenge.

That said, making steady progress to­wards pro­vid­ing a new home for peo­ple – some per­haps stay­ing now in refugee camps – is cru­cial given the time of year.

As an ed­i­to­rial in the Toronto Star noted, ‘the refugees will be emo­tion­ally vul­ner­a­ble, dis­ori­ented and stressed on their ar­rival. Many have been through hell and have lan­guished in ex­ile. Bring­ing peo­ple here in smaller waves will al­low the greeters – rang­ing from the mil­i­tary to provin­cial au­thor­i­ties, com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions and pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als – to learn from ex­pe­ri­ence and ease the way for later refugees.’

The re­sponse – from the fed­eral and provin­cial gov­ern­ments and from com­mu­nity groups – has been in­spir­ing and en­cour­ag­ing. But it’s just the be­gin­ning, in many ways, as the learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence will con­tinue in help­ing th­ese new res­i­dents fit in com­fort­ably as Cana­di­ans.

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