The reception of refugees: “We can do a lot more”

femme-serre-fils-bras-apresOver 4.1 million syrian refugees spread across the world, Canada plans to accommodate up to 11 300. Those who are interested in the question note that this is more than a lot of western countries, but nevertheless, too little, too late, too slowly.

The phone of refugee Action sounds constantly these days. “People call us from all over to tell us that they want to sponsor syrian refugees, and this, even if they don’t know of anyone in Syria. I’ve never seen it”, said Paul Clarke.

The director of the agency housed in an anglican church in the rue Sainte-Catherine is touched by the outpouring of generosity that reminds her of the home that Quebecers have reserved for the refugees of the sea in the 70’s and 80’s.

The problem, however, is that his body does not have the workforce to meet the demand. “With the budget we have, we have one employee who takes care of the private sponsorship of refugees. He has managed to get 67 records last year and he will be 72 this year. We have over 200 people on the waiting list. If people have to wait until 2020 to get people to come, these are likely to die before they happen,” laments the former banker who has recently changed vocation.

The government of Canada, which has promised to accept 11 300 syrian refugees by the end of 2017, account yet on agencies such as refugee Action, to achieve its objective. The Harper government expects that two-thirds of this number are sponsored by the private, rather than being supported by the government.

Expensive and slow

To this day, 2374 syrian refugees have arrived in the country. Of this number, 72% have been the subject of a private sponsorship.

These sponsorships, which are unique in the world, are expensive. For a family of two parents and two children, the “sponsors” canadians need to prove that they can pay$ 30,000 per year to support new entrants. The process also suffers from red tape, note Alexandra Kotyk, agency Lifeline Syria.

Established by a former mayor of Toronto and Ryerson University, Lifeline, Syria provides training and assistance to Canadians who want to help refugees. “It is complicated and it takes time. For it to work, it will be necessary that the government be more responsive and accelerates the pace”, said the manager of the project. A sponsorship can currently stretch over several years.

“Canada’s response is better than that of many western countries, but if you look at our history, it is not enough. You can do a lot more,” adds Mme Kotyk.

Review the targets

World leader in the field of refugee and professor emeritus of York University, Howard Adelman’s displeasure is most ardent in respect of the Harper government. “The goal of 11 300 refugees over three years is a farce! We could get 15 000 tomorrow morning from the refugee camps [in the Middle East]. Term, Canada could take up to 100 000”, said he. The conservatives ‘ election pledge to open the doors to 10,000 syrian refugees and iraqis more impressed little.

Howard Adelman believes that the current government has rejected on the canadian citizens its responsibilities to people in search of protection. “At this time, the government is asking the private sector to take charge of sponsorships, but gives no support and is not showing any leadership,” ton, the philosopher, retired, attached to his home in Toronto.

According to the expert, the Canada has in its scope a number of options. He has even suggested that promptly giving temporary work permits to syrian refugees in Nova Scotia. “There was a lot of enthusiasm for this project, even on the side of the officials, but there was no political will,” grieves-t-it.

He also believes that the government could be more generous with regard to the countries neighbouring Syria – including Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, which are alone more than 80% of the 4.1 million syrian refugees. “These countries have shouldered more than their share. We need to unload and support”, said Mr. Adelman.

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