On World Refugee Day, New Democrats recognize the struggles of people around the world forced to flee their homes due to war, violence, or persecution.
Canada has a long history of opening its doors to refugees, and we must continue to support them. Last year, 46,700 refugees were admitted into Canada. Over 70 percent of these newcomers arrived from Syria, where civil war continues to wreak destruction and devastation.
We have recently learned that a 57-year-old woman lost her life attempting to cross the border into Manitoba.
The prime minister said everyone is welcome in Canada, but his government has yet to take action to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States. As a result, refugees in the U.S. who want to come to Canada are forced to risk life and limb to get here. We cannot allow this to continue.
Last week, for the first time in its 33 years, Inland Refugee Society of B.C. turned away a family of asylum seekers due to a lack of resources. Without federal support, it will have to close its doors in the fall.
What is more, the government is also refusing to take urgent action with the Immigration and Refugee Board, which due to vacancies and underfunding, has accumulated a backlog of over 24,000 cases. This backlog increases by 1,000 cases per month and, at this rate, claims will take 11 years to finalize. This undermines the integrity of our refugee system.
New Democrats also unequivocally condemn Trump’s travel ban. We believe a ban based on race, religion or place of birth cannot be tolerated.
We are calling on the Liberal government to take action, to ensure refugees can safely come into Canada. This includes:
- suspending the Safe Third Country Agreement;
- lifting the cap on privately sponsored refugees;
- securing assurances for those traveling into the U.S. that they will be granted entry free from racial profiling and undue hardship;
- and increased funding for resettlement services, and targeted funding for organizations supporting inland refugee claimants upon arrival.
Canadians expect their leaders to stand up to the forces of hatred and bigotry, and to do everything in our capacity to help vulnerable people around the world.
New Democrats will always stand up to those who peddle the politics of fear and division and fight to keep our borders open to refugees. Canada is a country of diversity, peace and inclusion. Let’s keep it that way.