DOES MISSING DEADLINE MATTER?
Deadline less important Michele Millard (above), co-ordinator for York University’s Centre for Refugee Studies, said she isn’t surprised the Liberals missed their “ambitious” end-of-year resettlement target. But she argued that Ottawa was right to announce the deadline because “it illustrated the urgency and the commitment of the government” to addressing the Syrian refugee crisis. Millard said she’s confident that the government will eventually meet its target, and “the deadline is less important than the ultimate goal.”
“They’re watching us” Chris Friesen, chair of the Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, said organizations like his were struggling to keep up with the influx of refugees, and having more time might make the resettlement process go smoother. But he believes that Ottawa setting a hard target was still a good idea. “If there’s no goal . . . your whole system then becomes reactive, not proactive,” he said. The target also set an example for the international community to follow, he said. “They’re watching us and this great Canadian national project with tremendous interest.”
Inadequate answers Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel (above) has hounded the Liberals over what she says is a lack of transparency in the refugee plan. “It’s incumbent upon the government that the complex issues associated with refugee intake are dealt with,” she said. “That’s why we’ve been asking questions around screening, around housing, around language training, all of these sorts of things where we, frankly, have not had adequate answers from the government.”
“Clear hearts” Talar Simonian and five of her family members fled Aleppo, Syria, four years ago as refugees, and finally arrived in Toronto earlier this month. Simonian, 21, said she doesn’t know whether the Canadian government is moving fast enough to resettle refugees. “They know more than me how many people they should bring,” she said. But she was certain that the government has been generous to her and her family, and given them a new life. “They are very helpful,” she said. “They have clear hearts.” Ben Spurr