Canada’s role in the Syrian crisis

Ontario has pledged to spend $10.5 million to help bring in approximately 10,000 refugees from Syria, according to a press release by the Toronto Star.

Sentiments have been stirred all across the West following the circulation of a picture of Alan Kurdi, a drowned toddler’s whose picture went viral in early last week.

Speaking on this issue, Premier Kathleen Wynne at the COSTI (Immigration Services) office on College Street in Toronto, stated that the “desperate situation” had been growing for many months.
“To see this child, it was tragic and hard not relate to your own children, to relate to your own grandchildren,” Wynne said in an interview Friday following her press release at the COSTI building.

“There are moments in political life where you just think this is not good enough. We have to now do more. We have to push the system, because the system’s clearly not working” stated Wynne.

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Crowd of refugees in Syria line up for rations

According to various experts, despite Ontario’s claims, it will need Ottawa’s support to expedite the arrival of the refugees, while making sure screening of those being brought into the country are thorough.

According to Wynne, the $10.5 million will go towards funding various churches and non-government organizations, as well as several charities that will be sponsoring refugees as the Ontario government can’t directly sponsor refugees under current legislation.

Despite this restriction, Ontario is immediately donating $1 million to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme for their current relief efforts in Syria.

Wynne’s promised funding will be managed by the Queen’s Park Foundation, a group that is spearheading the relocation process for Syrian refugees as well as privately contributing $330,000 to the cause.

In an interview with The Star, Wynne commented on how Ontario has a reputation for welcoming refugees from various conflicts in the last 40 years.

“We have had a reputation because of our history and because of who we are—because we’re made up of wave after wave of immigrants,” the premier said here after a joint cabinet meeting with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and their ministers.

Philippe Couillard, the current Premier of Quebec and leader of the Quebec Liberal Party stated in an interview that Quebec will triple its amount of allowed Syrian refugees to over 3,600 this year.

“For this, we need the active collaboration of the federal government. We need to have health and security clearance for those people. Again, we would not compromise our security,” the Quebec premier said.“I do understand the concern that people have around security. These people are living in a very dangerous place with terrorist groups, of course, all among them. So we’re not naive, we know that we have to be careful.”

“But we can do both — we can be hospitable and open our arms, but at the same time we can be prudent and careful. And for this we need the active collaboration of the federal government.”

All in all, Canada has pledged to accept 10,000 more refugees over the next four years as well as fulfilling its early commitment to help some 11,000 Syrians.”

While the Conservatives have only pledged to help about 20,000 Syrians, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair has went on the record stating that if the NDP win the election, they will resettle 46,000 refugees in the same time period the Conservatives have given to settle 20,000 Syrians.As for the Liberals, they pledged to immediately accept 25,000 refugees following the election as well.

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