Total refugee goal still in place
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.