Canada readies to welcome Syrian refugees

by | Nov 20, 2015 | News

Branden Liezert

On the cusp of the government announcing how refugees will be settled in Canada, The Canadian Press reported it will cost $1.2 billion over six years.

Barb Clumpus, mayor of Meaford, Ont., said her town has been approved for taking in a family of Syrian refugees, but will use CFB Meaford to assist with housing the refugees.

“Our armed forces base in the municipality in Meaford has been targeted as a potential housing element for these refugees coming in,” Clumpus told Humber News.

Clumpus said that her primary interest in housing these refugees was the humanitarian aspect.

“First and foremost – it’s the right thing to do,” Clumpus said. “This is just a very dire crisis that the world has faced at this present time.”

Clumpus said Ontario can benefit economically from the refugees, although she does not believe that should be the primary point for bringing in the refugees.

“These refugees are fleeing for their lives,” said the mayor. “These are not necessarily ‘economic-migrants’. They are refugees with a need for safety.”

University of Toronto politics professor, Chris Cochrane, said there’s a lot of support in the Canadian population for bringing in refugees.

“It’s worth emphasizing that the refugees are fleeing ISIS. They’re fleeing the brutality,” Cochrane told Humber News Monday.

Cochrane acknowledged there is opposition. He said there is responsibility on behalf of the government to ensure safety to Canadians while bringing in the refugees.

“This also gets to the question of security screening,” Cochrane said. “If the government is bringing in 25,000 people on a timeline in order to meet a campaign commitment and they’re not thinking about things like ensuring the proper security checks are done, then obviously that would be a failure of the government. But, my hunch is that in fact they are.”

Cochrane doesn’t believe the 25,000 Syrian migrants will not drastically effect Canada’s economy or society.

“It’s not a pittance, but it’s not a massive number,” said Cochrane. “Twenty-five thousand is a large number number when we think about it in a Canadian context, but compare that to what the Germans are doing for example and we would have to bring in something like 350,000 in order to match that per-capita contribution.”

Like Clumpus, Cochrane said that any impact on Canada’s economy shouldn’t be the primary focus for sheltering the migrants now.

“Hopefully, we don’t get stuck talking about numbers and timelines as our metric of success, rather than security and successful integration of the refugees themselves.”