Europe is welcoming refugees from all over the Middle East and Africa, not just Syria. This a global crisis, not just a Syrian crisis. While European governments are talking refugees from all over the Middle East and the Africa, we are ready to accept a handful of refugee from Syria only.
However, Stephen Harper’s response has reframed this issue as a Syrian-only crisis so as to avoid taking responsibility for a failed refugee policy his government has had since he has been prime minister. Harper says that going to war against ISIS will resolve our refugee crisis. The fact is that many of the refugees are fleeing from the Syrian and Turkish governments that are being supported by the Canadian government. So we are in fact creating these refugees, but actually keeping refugees from coming to Canada.
We are have not only taken fewer refugees under Stephen Harper; we have made it more difficult for them to come. While European countries welcome all refugees with open arms, we have built prison cells in our airports to lock up refugees as soon as they arrive, including children, like we did with refugees from Sri Lanka arriving to our shores in boats not so different than how they are arriving in Europe now.
In fact, all governments including the provincial government have failed refugees by cutting funding for legal aid to pay for lawyers to help the refugees with their hearing process as well as funding for English as a second language to help with refugee settlement. Now the B.C. government wants to fund settlement for Syrian refugees only.
Refugees coming to Canada in fact pay more tax to Canada than millionaire migrants in all sorts of fees and taxes, according to a CBC report. So the Harper government is making money off these poor refugees. They have in fact downloaded responsibility for refugees to private sponsorships where individuals are having to pay thousands of dollars to support these refugee families. Government-sponsored refugees who come to Canada through the United Nations process have to pay back the money the government pays for the airline ticket, causing serious hardship for these refugee families who make very little money as even English language training programs have been cut.
If our governments are serious about helping refugees with tears in their eyes then they need to overhaul our entire refugee policy and have all the levels of governments work together to make that happen.