I saw your post on Facebook. The one where you were trying to get people to sign the petition to “stop the immigration”.
Wow. How do I respond to this?
Well, I guess I can say that I’m kind of glad it was you who sent it. If it had been some stranger, I would have just dismissed it as the ravings of some redneck asshole. Yup. That’s how unkind I would have been.
Which doesn’t say good things about me.
But because it was you I had to really think about how to respond. How can someone that I like, respect even, someone who I know would never wish harm to another – how can this person want to stand by and let innocent people, mothers and their children – starve in refugee camps or die at the hands of human smugglers?
Make no mistake, these people do die terrible deaths. Why? They are running from the same people who murdered the innocent civilians in Paris. They are bombed. They are terrorized. Some are rounded up and shot quickly. Those are the lucky ones.
Even in the areas supposedly under control of the “democratic governments” we in the west helped establish there is no safety.
Here’s a true story I heard from a former Toronto cop who trained police for the Iraqi forces.
Being an Iraqi police officer is often a short career. It’s a dangerous thing to do. But it pays a salary. Enough to keep your family from starving.
There are some alternative occupations. Suicide bomber is one. The guys who visited the man that the cop told me about promised to take care of his family for life. For life. All he had to do was to strap on a bomb and blow himself up. He said no – he’d rather take his chances as an Iraqi cop. And went off to the training camp.
Apparently, you aren’t allowed to say no when they ask you to be a suicide bomber. While he was in training to be a cop his wife and children were horribly murdered.
This is in the areas where there is some semblance of control. In the areas controlled by ISIS it gets worse. So they flee.
I don’t know who you think these people are, because outside of the fact that they speak a different language, many of them are pretty much like you and me. Or they were before the war. They ran small businesses. They worked in offices. They taught children. But there’s not a lot of teachers jobs in war zones. Go figure.
And the camps? Well I guess some of them make it to refugee camps. Why don’t they stay there? Some do. They “live” in these camps – the lucky ones – for years. In many of the camps there isn’t enough food or shelter. In some they have resources for about 500 calories a day for each person. You starve slowly on that amount of food. You watch your kids starve slowly as well. (By the way, as Canadians we throw out tons of food every day. But I digress.)
When they stay in these camps for year and year, with no hope do you wonder why some get recruited by the nice men who offer a career as soldiers or suicide bombers. When you abandon people to lives of no hope in squalid refugee camps, what are they supposed to do?
Surprisingly, the number that do become terrorists is very, very small. For these heroic people, many choose another option. Rather than starve slowly, live in a war zone or spend their remaining days hungry and lost in these camps, they run. Well, they walk mostly, taking what pitiful few possessions they can carry. Or they get on those boats.
Ah yes, the boats. I’m sure you’ve heard of the rickety boats that they go to sea in, hoping to make it to Europe. I know that you’ve read that many of those boats don’t make it. They are so overloaded, many capsize and the people drown. The smugglers don’t care. What’s a few more dead refugees, right?
Now, I’m not sure if you know what it’s like to die by drowning. The good news is – it doesn’t take that long. You die choking on water coming into your lungs but you only have about five to fifteen minutes to struggle hopelessly in the water. The bad news is that those five to fifteen minutes are horrific. It’s quite a terrible death. That’s why they use waterboarding as a torture. Even hardened warriors can’t endure even a few minutes of what its like to drown.
Of course you don’t always drown alone. Some drown trying to save their babies and young children, knowing they will fail. Sheer terror, painful death and knowing that your kids are dying and you can do nothing. Take a second and picture this. Just before you sign that petition.
You’ve got kids. Could you imagine dying in horrible pain while you know that you children are also dying in horribly and you can do nothing? If that’s not the definition of hell, I don’t know what is.
Again there are the lucky ones. Those ones survive and only get robbed once or twice. Some don’t lose all their life savings and have enough to try to get someone to smuggle them into another country. Some are like the folks that paid the smugglers to take them across Europe in a truck. They suffocated in the back of that truck, dying slowly over hours of suffering, clutching their kids and knowing that there was nothing they could do. Nothing.
Some of these folks have it relatively easy. Their boats don’t capsize. They don’t get in a truck. They just walk for hundreds of kilometers. Sure, some are robbed. Many are starving. As it gets to be winter in Europe – yes – they get winter there too – they shiver as they starve and freeze. Again, these are the really fortunate ones.
So why on earth would they do this? Why would they risk horrible, unspeakable torturous deaths, many helplessly dying with their babies in their arms?
Why? They are running from the same terrorists that we fear. They are running from the same group of people who killed a hundred or more people in Paris.
Every one of the people in Paris who died is a tragedy. That almost 150 died is earth shaking. You are mad because that happened? Me too. I’m furious. I am struggling to contain the rage inside me. I want someone to pay.
My problem? And where we differ? I don’t want some poor bastard whose only crime is that he or she picked the wrong place to be born to pay. I don’t want the mother who saw her husband shot to pay. I don’t want that Iraqi cop whose family were tortured and killed to pay. They’ve suffered enough.
And they continue to pay. The number of Parisians dead is the equivalent of one capsized boat. It doesn’t make the Parisians lives any less valuable. But the lives of the people who died in that truck are also valuable. By the time they found them they were mostly liquid rotting flesh.
These are the stories that make the news. Do we even know what kind of suffering happened to the people in all these unmarked graves they keep finding?
But it’s not the numbers that count. Every death is a tragedy. The people in Paris. The folks in that truck. The people who drown. The folks in those mass graves. The kids in that café in Paris. They are all innocent. And all of them are paying with their lives.
The trouble is – I can’t do a damn thing about the people in Paris. Except get mad. I can rage about it. I can cry. But I can’t change a damn thing.
I can help one person get out of those camps. We as a country can help thousands.
We’ve done it before. In the 1970’s – remember the recession and economic problems then? We took in 50,000 refugees or more – lots of them the “boat people”. We had a housing crisis at the time too. But we did it. Some people at that time said “we should take care of our own” first. Some said their North Vietnamese spies hidden in the refugees. We still took them in.
We did it in the 1950s too. Before our time. We took in an enormous number of Hungarian refugees. Again – it was a crappy time for Canada economically, but we still did the right thing. I’m sure someone talked about the commie spies that were hiding in the refugees. It was the cold war.
But we did the right thing not when it was easy – but when it was difficult. We did it when it was tough. Today, we’re all proud of what we did as a country. And those people we took in have gone on to make this a better country. Many have worked hard at menial jobs and raised families. Some of their kids are now in our parliament.
We have not always been so noble. This “ban immigration” sentiment has surfaced before. We said “none is too many”. We let them sit in the boats. We let them be taken back to Germany and the camps. That’s right. Canada sent Jews back to die in camps in Germany. It’s a historical fact.
When I think back on that, I’m not so proud.
I’m not prepared to let my country’s legacy be “none is too many.” I’m not prepared to sit idly by and let those people suffer.
So the short answer is no. I won’t be signing your petition. I couldn’t live with myself if I did.
And it would be tempting to just let this go by, but I can’t do that either.
All I can think about is that if some brave people before the second world war had stood up and said, no – we must let those people in – boatloads of Jews would have avoided the camps, torture and death.
I can’t change that. But I can oppose your idea – not you, but your idea. If I stand up and say no to this petition. If I oppose it with every fibre of my being maybe, just maybe – I might help one modern boat from being turned back.
And before you say it. Yes. Some terrorists might get in.
We’ll deal with that. These guys aren’t stupid. They’ll get in to our country anyway. Have you heard of the internet? They don’t have to come here to recruit white middle-class kids. Borders don’t matter anymore.
Thank god someone informs on the terrorists. How do you think our cops find and thwart the terrorists that are operating here now? They get information from the grateful people who don’t want to bring that hate, war and terrorism to this country. Loyal, grateful friends. They are our best defense.
So I can’t sign your petition. I have to oppose it with every fibre of my being. I have to do it for all these reasons and one more.
Here’s my last point. If I do sign and turn my back on these innocent people, knowingly let them suffer, then what have we become? Haven’t the terrorists already won? Haven’t we become just like they want us to be?
If I was going to make a recruiting poster for terrorism, the slogan would be – “they don’t give a damn about you. Why should you care about them?”
I won’t play their game. I won’t be consumed by fear and anger. I’ll be saddened because I’m human, but I won’t hate and I won’t fear. If we do, the terrorists win.
So, no thanks to your petition. I’d like to say I wish you success, but I don’t. All I will say is that if you change your mind, this door never shuts. I won’t hate you either. You will have to live with what you have and haven’t done.
I won’t give up to terror. I won’t give up trying to help the innocent victims of war. And through all of this – I won’t give up on you either.
369 responses to “Even so, I’m not giving up on you…”
a wonderfully written piece .. I am so sick of the hatred on this issue. I really thought that we, as Canadians, had evolved so much further than this. I hope we can salvage some dignity out of this situation.
I ADMIRE you Jim…I am preparing to make refugees in our small city welcome..be it ever so humble there is no place like “A” home. We have and hopefully never will experience what these families and individuals are going through…Jesus said “Suffer the little children to come unto me”,’ I Want to prove that our religion belief’s and our conscience’s will prove that love not hate will WIN. Besides this is the HUMAN thing to do. We will not turn our back on those is need of our safe harbour.
Calling someone who disagrees with your viewpoint a “redneck asshole” may not be the finest way to convince people of the rightness of your position. Is this what our world has become? One side has a monopoly on truth and anyone who fails to agree completely is subject to personal attack?
My point was that I thought it and then backed away from it. Which is, I think, a pretty natural thing.
Really? Of the whole article, the only thing you focused on was two words “redneck asshole”, amazing insight you have shown. Your comprehension is impeccable, what a brain you have been gifted with, thank you for opening your mouth and confirming your sheer imbecility and ignorance.
This is so nicely wrote, but can you write something like this for the ones here going through sooooo much themselves. Living on the streets and freezing and starving . For ones like myself that would be one of them if it were not for my BF giving me a place to live. I am un able to work , but not disabled enough to get any help from anyone …… I get NO money what so ever because I am in the Government’s eyes not disabled enough to get any money to live…. but what is one to do????? so Thank you to my BF for looking after me when my Government would not…… BUT thinks looking after other people are more important than people living here already…. I know I sound selfish , but come on … I am a human being also…. and I do deserve to be treated as one also…… I do do volunteering and things I am able to do to give back….. but I do not get the same from the Government….. I wish I could win the lottery …. as I would help these families ……. but we do need to look out for ourselves first BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE WILL 😦 😦
You are not selfish. Nor should you feel bad about wanting assistance. No one should be required to live on the street or worry about where their next meal is coming from. We all have a right to a safe place to live and food to eat. But I sincerely believe that each act of compassion makes the next one easier. So many of the people who shared this blog from my friends were also the same people who were there at our fund raiser to help local people make it through the winter. So for some of us at least (hopefully many of us) compassion is not a case of either/or – it’s refugees AND those of our fellow Canadians who need help.
Thank you so much for these words. They are what I have been searching for. You have given me voice. Frankly, we can’t give up on each other.
I agree, Karen. It is just breaking my heart to see so much vileness – particularly from people I never would have expected.
Wow! Thank you for expressing what we need to hear so eloquently here in the USA as well as Canada. Your words are thought provoking, powerful and profound. I found renewed strength in reading these words and hope this essay reaches around the world as a beacon of bright hope for promoting compassion over pervasive fear.
I dont feel it as hatred but i do feel not that there are many more Canadians that need the help but are not receiving it but these Immigrants will be given hand outs for years to come while our own children starve and live in squalor and disgust
.Also in this lovely writing it is noted
Surprisingly, the number that do become terrorists is very, very small. For these heroic people .
But the terrorist will still come from this group as you state it only takes one to kill hundreds I don’t like the odds .
Sorry, but if you are going to quote me, could you please ensure you are accurate. I said that a very, very few who remain in the camps become terrorists. Those are the very, very few that our screening process would take out – if they were even considered in the first place. That’s why we have to also contribute to making these camps less squalid. For those who are stuck there without hope, some (and again a tiny number) may succumb to terrorist ideology or more likely the type of blackmail that my article discusses.
And as I’ve pointed out many times, helping the refugees does not keep us from helping our own children and citizens. Compassion is not a commodity that you spend – it’s a muscle that gets stronger with use. And in a world where the last government found hundreds of millions to spend in government advertising – I don’t have any problem knowing that we could find the resources to help Canadians and others in need.
I believe the only handouts they would get are the same that any Canadian would get. And, terrorists and their ideas seem to be getting into Canada and elsewhere without pretending to be refugees.
1. Your profile photo tells us something about Rod Burns (if that is your real name)
2. Do you drive a car? The chance of being killed in or by a car is so MUCH greater than ever being killed by a terrorist BUT you don’t seem mind those odds. Your thinking LACKS logic.
We could help all of our homeless and poverty stricken people here in Canada- but we don’t. A friend of mine stated this response to that argument: “When you use the “we can’t take care of our own” argument to justify halting the arrival of the Syrian refugees, you really are heartless 1) We CAN take care of our own, we generally choose not to. 2) Why the sudden interest in ‘our’ poor – when you’ve treated them as the threat for years. 3)The Syrians are our own – stop creating the ‘other’ in a global crisis where fellow humans are in need. 4) You have reaped the privileged benefits of globalization at a bargain price for years and sorry, but now it’s time to pay for some of it.” As someone with a Muslim friend here in Canada ( she is Canadian and married a Muslim) she is already feeling the hatred from those who are her neighbours and people on the street because of what she wears. She is a member of Canada’s search and rescue team when people go missing- she helps out all who need it regardless of their religious or cultural background. I only hope you can say the same. Love should have no borders.
I completely agree. It is unbelievable what these barbaric animals are capable of but putting the rest of the world at risk isnt the solution. With the amount of resources being used to relocate the Syrian people, we could help them fight for their own land and they can keep what belongs to them. And for the record not all Syrian refugees are grateful with what each country has to offer. In fact there are several news articles where they are demanding more luxury items for their comfort
I’d love to see those articles. No journalists from any of the respected outlets that I’ve read have reported any such thing.
Ms. Girard, may I, politely, ask you why you are calling these people “barbaric animals?”
If your kids are hungry then GET A JOB! I was a single parent and I keot my child fed and clothed and a roof over our heads. I never once was on welfare!!! If you cant work, DONT HAVE CHILDREN! Its easy, the way life works is we prepare to have kids and we dont expect the government to pay our way! These people have lost EVERYTHING! They have nothing, and every day they are there they become a step closer to death! We were born in a free country, were we get educated, and can get work, and can work hard and get ahead. These people had that, but now its gone. You think Canadians need hand outs more than these people? Shame on you!
25000 refugees is like one for every city and town in Canada… get real.. WE bombed the hell out of THEIR homelands.. we owe them!!!!
whether they come or not will not mean one bit to the hungry, cold and poor in Canada.. that has to be changed by our Government on every level.. don’t penalize a small group of people because of mismanaged monies and ideals of the past leaders..
Rachel, 1) I do take care of homeless and poor people all the time as my means allow. 2) My interest in the poor is not new and I have not treated them as a threat ever. 3) Syrians are not “my own”. They live in another country. They are not related to me. We do not know each other. Despite this, I am in favour of helping them, just not in the way you propose. 4) The benefits of globalization have generally helped the poorest country the most as any examination of the rise in the standard of living of the poorest countries will show. There are no special benefits of globalization for which I should apologize. I have paid for everything I have. Finally, whether your friend is Muslim or not is immaterial. This is not a Crusade with Muslim pitted against Christian. It is a wave of immigration of people, many of whom have been shown in a scientific poll to support or sympathize with a terrorist organization which has vowed to kill Canadians. The threat here is not Islam. It is ISIS and its supporters. There are, unfortunately, far too many of them among the Syrian refugee population to make this wave of immigration a safe proposition. If this wave of immigration is allowed to go ahead, it will probably lead to violence and that will be especially regrettable because it will have been violence that was avoidable.
Immigrants do not get “handouts for years to come.” They are sponsored and are expected to work for a living. Refugees are given assistance for a limited amount of time and are required to pay back the government for their journey here. Ask Mr. Nguyen who has the little shop down the street how long he was given help after he arrived after escaping Vietnam. You say “our own children starve and live in squalor.” What are you doing to help that situation? How much are you and I actually part of that problem? I suggest you do some research and fact-finding before being tempted to spout xenophobic rhetoric. http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/outside/resettle-assist.asp
I was right with you on this comment until you got to “spout xenophobic rhetoric”. I’m not being critical, my emotions run high at times too – but (and I’m learning from this too) an attack in a comment may feel like a good ending, but to the reader its often a letdown – even when the person is supporting you. And please, I’m not picking on you – as I said – I’ve been known to do it too, but I really wanted to share this insight. So don’t give up on me, either 🙂
All the best and thanks for taking the time to read this and comment on it.
I’m a Canadian with an American wife. We talked with immigration with regards to having her (with me) move to Canada. What a rig-a-marole! If I could send her to Turkey, she could say she walked there from Syria; most people have scant to no IDs. Trouble is, she’s a blond with blue eyes. Life sucks!!!
I totally agree that our immigration system is totally messed up. I had a friend in the same situation – he had to move to the US. I can’t believe it – in an era of supposed free trade and all that, what is the big deal with people from the US and Canada having mobility? Can anyone enlighten me as to what gives with this.
As I said I’m totally with you on the unfairness. But don’t perpetuate a myth that any person from Turkey can instantly be accepted. I think it’s less than 1% that get selected and the screening to get there is pretty rigourous. And I doubt that any of us would survive even 1 day in those camps.
There is hatred on both sides of the argument. The real issue is not should we help, Canada has taken in 20,000.00 plus refugees/year for the past 7? years. The question is, how do we make the transition the best for those refugees and for our resources here? I hope our government heeds the advise of most of the experts in this area. Do it in a timely manner, do it the right way.
so am I karen, it disgusts me to be part of the human race on this subject, it makes my heart ache!
Thanks. I was compelled to write this. I honestly do understand the anger and fear that is propelling many of these comments. But I can’t stand by and let it go on unchecked. As the mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi said yesterday in an interview, “Asking questions about where these people will settle or what the screening process is? Alright. Making racist comments? Not alright.” Not a trace of anger. Just resolve. I am nowhere near as eloquent as he is, but this piece was written from the same place in the heart.
Why as Canadians citizens we are so focused with refugees and not with our own impoverished is unbelievable
Why we think that doing one prevents doing the second is to me what is unbelievable.
Thank you for putting words to my feelings. And now I will act. I will contact my minister whom is trying to bring a refugee family to our town, to see how I can help. Again, thank you.
You are nowhere as informed as a lot of people who have been there either Jim! Three of the “Syrian” refugees took part in this massacre of innocents. Why don’t you write a 5 page apology letter to them on behalf of the West telling them you’re sorry that the officials in Paris were mistaken for rushing in these poor refugees!. Yes, there are many who need our help, but there are thousands flooding into Europe who are doing exactly what the ISIS described in their last several Caliphates. You talk about the hatred by some posters here in Canada? That hatred is nothing compared to the hatred these monsters have for us in the West. I, along with many others, are tired of the weak, apologetic Liberals who see everyone as a contributor to our society. Just where are we going to put these 25,000 Jim? The cost to just get them here has now been estimated at $1.4 billion! That money is coming out of our pockets. Sorry, but I have neither the money nor the blind faith that so many people have so eloquently talked about, without giving one thought to the safety of our own Canadian citizens. Let the Christians come, but leave the Muslims to find their way in Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, etc. They want to live under Sharia Law? Well where better to follow your beliefs and ideals than in a Muslim Nation. I expect in a few years time or sooner, we will be seeing the same hatred in cities like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and in your buddy Naheed’s hometown of Calgary.
Man – I couldn’t even begin to have a discussion about this. And frankly, I wish Naheed were my buddy. He’s a warm, compassionate and wise person. And does this mean that I have to leave the country? I’m a Buddhist, not a Christian. But if you are arguing this on the word of that great Muslim prophet Jesus (yes, Muslims have Jesus as part of their faith) then you might want to read the parable of the Samaritan and reflect on what Christ would have had to say about this. It’s probably unequivocal that Christ would have welcomed people of all faiths.
I cannot find the reply button for James Risdom but I applaude you! You hit the nail on the head. Trudeau is moving way too fast in this. This issue is not about racism and for anyone to think that .well to each their own. This is about our security.You are bringing people over some good most are sympathizers.You don’t know no matter how you screen them , what is going on inside their heads! This decision is already dividing our country..and thats exactly what they want.
Heather. This just simply makes no sense. If you are an extremist or an ISIS supporter, you have not walked 1800km across Turkey to the Bulgarian border, or risked your life in an overcrowded boat hoping to reach Italy… You are in Syria, probably fighting and reaping the rewards, whatever those may be. Just think for half a second about who flees war zones. Not usually the soldiers. Generally not those “winning”.
Where you get the idea that “most are sympathizers” I don’t know. Bring some facts to the table or you have actually exposed your profound prejudice. (I won’t say racism). But, you are expressing unreasonable opinions of a hostile nature – formed beforehand without knowledge or reason – regarding an ethnic, social, and religious group. That IS literally the definition of prejudice. So… please share whatever knowledge you have to support your sweeping generalisation about more than 4 million unique human beings.
Otherwise keep your fear mongering xenophobia to yourself. James Risdon doesn’t need anyone cheerleading his brand of ignorance.
If you posted this to support my ideas, it was good until the last sentence. Just saying.
“You don’t know no matter how you screen them , what is going on inside their heads!” No, I don’t, but apparently you do.
I don’t need to know what’s going on inside anyone’s head. I need to know whether they are safe or not. Mother Theresa was asked what made her compassionate. She said, and I quote, “because there is a Hitler inside me.” That shocked me, but I think I get what she was saying. Compassion is a verb – not a noun. It’s what we do that counts.
THIS. And please consider having a “like” button on your blog posts so there’s more chance for people to see this in their feeds. Beautifully written.
Thank you … And I’m sharing as far and wide as I can in hopes that the people who are bowing to the fear mongering will understand how important it is that we try and help these unfortunate refugees as much as we can. You covered everything that needs to be said ….
Thank you for articulating what I have been thinking and feeling so well. Just last night a group of friends and family were speaking about how the silent majority need to continue to speak up and out. Otherwise the vocal minority not only control the message, they gain more support for their cause. Well done!
I understand you but \I also think of our homeless dying from the cold and our children dying from starvation and other things we need to fix this first.
Why not embrace the power of “and” instead of the poverty of “or”. I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive. As a teenager, I was a “street kid” who came from a very poor family. I know what hunger is and I know what it’s like to be out in the cold alone. I totally agree with you. But we can – we must – do both. We must push our governments for affordable housing – I’ve seen the power of this first hand. We must push them to end child poverty. Yes. I support you totally. But we can do both.
We can always find millions and even billions for war. But when it comes to feeding children, housing those in need or in making education affordable for those who want to get out of poverty – we cry poor. There is no need. We could and should do both.
Please then write an article on poverty in Canada, how we let foster children slip through the cracks and commit suicide, how the elderly are living in vermin infested housing, how mentally ill are “put” out on the streets, how food banks never have enough, how veterans who have fought for our freedom are seldom given the support they need, how our FIRST Nations people have inadequate housing, water, heating.
Having grown up in poverty, having four aboriginal foster sisters and brothers, I’d love to write something. Perhaps I will. But for now, this was timely.
BEA,I agree. Seems like alot of silk words.Our church feeds 100 homeless ,once a month.A few faithful do it every month.All the talkers stay home.When was the last time you opened your home to the homeless for a bath and a dinner?WHEN was the last time you changed the under garment of an elderly?Seems like people who lead this guilty path need to have people join them .Talk is cheap.Get out,open your eyes, help with the little things,adopt a family for Christmas or whatever.Open your hearts. You don’t need any pats on the back or petitions to sign.You will be true blessed.
Were you going out of your way to fix this before? What do you do to help the homeless and disenfranchised in our country. Look in your heart. Is this a convenient reason so you don’t feel so guilty when you say no to those in extreme need.
I think many of us who are looking to help the refugees are also helping in our own communities. As I’ve said many times – it’s an “and” – not “or”. We need to do both. But even if someone is not in the position to help, surely they are still entitled to an opinion? Just saying…
Trish, I almost wrote the same response but then seen yours so, ditto!!
Time spent on Petitions should be spent on action….Helping the vets, Helping the homeless or Helping the Refugees!!!! It doesn’t matter how or who….Just help!!!!
I agree that actions speak louder than words – but we need to mobilize people into action. Good for you in urging us to not just talk about it but to do something!
Imagine you have super powers. You are walking down the street and fifty feet away on the left you see a Canadian pensioner with her hand out asking for some money to buy food. Would you rush to help her – or would you rush to help the family living on the other side of the street, a family who are threatened by bandits, a person just like you but whose home is under siege, a mother and daughter facing rape, a father and children held at gunpoint and forced to watch mother/daughter/sister being violated? You know the family (a family like yours who you love and cherish and who cherish you) will either be held captive, killed, threatened or thrown onto the street to starve or run while their home is pillaged then burned to the ground by their own government forces or a bunch of organized thugs.
I do not ignore the pensioner on the other side of the street – but I wonder why she is there. With my taxes I expect that our representatives in parliament will do what my tax dollars were meant to do – offer a social safety net for Canadians like her. Canadians who are in need, Canadians who are old, infirm, sick physically or mentally or who don’t have the skills to find a job in a bewildering and often cruel world where people are not valued for their talents but for how much profit can be wrung out of them before they are discarded like worthless trash. Some people don’t fit into the mould we want to slot them into and can’t fend for themselves in our highly regulated and profit oriented society. They are damaged mentally by people who have themselves faced trials they were too defenceless to fight. Instead of offering help society prefers to turn away and lay blame. People are taught to like a feeling of superiority rather than feel empathy or compassion. Psychopaths run rampant influencing the system so it works to their advantage and while we all do the best with what we have the ruthless ones have power over others in our present individualistic society. When we finally learn that only by working together to strengthen all within our community will peace have a chance and hope prevail over fear. We can put an end to the rule of psychopaths over empathetic people if we educate and support everyone who works to that purpose.
I expect my taxes to pay for the education and health care of Canadians and the less fortunate abroad (from whom we have gained so much of our own wealth). Just as I expect my taxes to pay for the infrastructure that makes it possible for Canadians to make their way to work, home and holiday. I wish entrepreneurs and investors in corporations and businesses felt a responsibility to pay their workers enough to afford shelter, food and some semblance of security both during their working years and after retirement – and I wish they paid their fair share of the taxes that provide Canadian and multinational corporations with the educated healthy workers who build their profits.
I wish corporations and businesses in Canada would pay enough to build the infrastructure that gets their products to market and their workers to the job as well as those who protect and serve them – police, firefighters, street cleaners and inspectors to name a few. With the sophisticated methods we have developed to deliver social and safety services to those in need it should not be necessary for churches to help the poor or food banks to be filled.
I wish corporations and businesses did not have a right to deduct the everyday expenses incurred in profit making from their taxes – I don’t have that right and I wouldn’t want it., I’m glad my taxes pay to keep Canadians educated, healthy safe and secure and to ensure a modicum of equality and justice for almost all of us – why shouldn’t corporate Canada be equally responsible? Are the people who profit from dividends more deserving than the rest of us, we all need shelter, food and everything that keeps our families safe and secure. Why are we less deserving?
Direct “help” through bringing poor hungry people to your home might make you feel good and put food in someone’s mouth but it is paid for through humiliation – how can one not feel undignified in the face of magnificence? A warm home, a loving family, food to spare – all the wonderful things a homeless or hungry person would want and need for themselves but items for which they cannot provide themselves – whether that be through an innate inability to live up to the demands made upon them or some horrendous misdeed or accident that put them on the street. They enter your opulent abode (to a hungry person a safe, warm place to sit and a full plate is opulence) and can’t help but envy you. You expect their gratitude and are warmed by it.
I don’t want to have to humiliate people in need nor do I want to feel that immediate rush of warmth at my own magnificence – my greatness as a person because I’ve brought a stranger in need into my home or given food to a food bank. I would rather let those in need keep their dignity and help them through life’s most trying and turbulent times with tax-paid anonymous help. Sure, that won’t feed my need to feel superior to some poor hungry homeless sufferer, give me a sense of my own worth or worthiness, but it WILL help people in need.
We need to start seeing taxes as a healthy means of delivering necessary services, a way to help each other in our daily lives in a constructive and kind way without causing more distress to those who are in need. We need to put our efforts into making sure our government representatives do their best for all of us, not the select few business leaders they meet daily through lobby groups and professional associations.
Stamp out your need to feel superior, pay the taxes you can afford and live happily knowing you have done your best to make the world a better place.
I, too, agree it is NOT a matter of ‘either/or’ but rather “and” Why not help BOTH the refugees and the downtrodden and vulnerable of our country? Because there are limited resources? I don’t buy that. It is not lack of resources. It is that the resources we do have are hogged by our financial elite(the rich) and our and the international corporations (corporatism). There is always enough resources to do things that THEY want, isn’t there? Are they not just part of our social fabric and therefore part of us.? So why don’t “we” insist that “they” contribute majorly to help to do BOTH these things? Are “they” just not part of “us”, albeit the one’s who have more resources to do what “we” need to do?
I think everyone should do for the needy what is in their heart to do, I don’t believe Dave Howard, you have the right to say that a person who worked hard and is as you call them “rich” should have to help anyone unless they choose too’ Who are you but a socialist to demand because someone is better off than you, that they should have to give their riches to who you deem worthy! Really lets start with looking at just how much money you give in relation to how much you make. Does that sound fair. No one has a right to demand another give what is theirs.Mind your own morality. Giving should be a choice made by the individual, not by who socialist decide should give
I’m not sure name calling like “socialist” advances your argument.
People who are financially successful have often sacrificed much and worked 80 plus hours/week to get that way. Hogging resources? Hardly. How about successful companies that provide jobs, are responsible, moral people who also give back to their communities? Painting every successful person with this brush you have used smacks of jealousy and pettiness. It is no better then saying the poor are lazy. There are large corporations that are greedy gusses, so to speak, but there just as many that are not. You don’t hear about “them”, because they’re too busy running their businesses and giving back.
Maybe it is time for us all to acknowledge that those who are already starving, freezing, or dying in Canada are victims too. What have you done so far, Bea, to address that problem? I believe that bringing refugees to Canada will not only require compassion – it will generate more compassion, and that will in turn benefit Canadians who are already struggling.
Totally agree with your sentiment, but I think demanding to know what someone else has done may be counter-productive. But I totally agree that compassion is not a scarce commodity – it is a muscle that gets better and stronger with exercise.
We are – This year Medicine Hat became the first Canadian city to end homelessness. Alberta has embarked on a project to end homelessness within a decade. We can do both; we MUST do both. http://humanservices.alberta.ca/homelessness/14601.html
Man oh man – I am SO looking forward to reading this. I didn’t know about this initiative. And for any skeptic out there, if you guys take one person off the street and help them get their life and dignity back, god bless you a million times over. I’ve looked at the basics and I’ll be digging into this. May you succeed. May this spread.
The fact that you personally can’t fix the homeless problem, doesn’t mean that you should refuse to help with any other kind of problem.
This is not a competition, not an ‘either or’ situation. We do what we can for those both near and far.
Where was your care for these people over the last 10 years? Why is it such a huge issue as soon as the government said we would help some syrians? Seems to me, if you want to help our homeless you should, but dont even think about using them as an excuse to hide your fear behind. It doesnt work
A well presented response to a petition based on fear and hate. The comments accompanying this article are a mix of understanding and bitterness which often poses as argument that Canadians shortcomings in respect to our homeless and hungry are a group that must be addressed first. There is some truth to the needs of some Canadians but I suspect that those who use this misleading arguement now are the same people who have also said that our poor and homeless should just get jobs and not expect welfare to allow them a life of luxury.
Specious comment and tiresome in the extreme…and we need to address indigenous issues; and reform the Senate; and strengthen the military; and yadda yadda yadda…
For the record, homelessness is primarily a mental health issue. Your attempt to compare that to the refugee problem indicates you know little of either issue.
I’ll go back to reread my stuff. I don’t believe that as a person from a mixed race family with four indigenous brothers and sisters that I ever came across as even implying that we shouldn’t deal with indigenous issues. As for reforming the Senate – good luck on that one. And strengthening the military – I’ll say “guilty as charged”. I’m only interested in peacekeeping. And before you say that won’t work – how’s the war thing doing so far? Has it solved anything? Ever? Just pulling your chain on that one. Anyone who uses yadda yadda in a sentence should have a sense of humour 🙂
Narrow, left-brained, linear logic is easy to fall into and feel as a knee jerk reaction to terrorists and their victims, but the bigger picture, the human mess of it, is harder to get to and you’ve pointed that out so eloquently. We can’t keep being blinded by our insular fear and bigotry when we need to understand how we fit into the world as part of the whole.
your reply is eloquent also. thank you.
a fellow North American -:)
This is something that I wish could be spread from one end of the planet to the other! In the hope that everyone who can read it will indeed read it! Read it again if they are unsure or still have doubts! Then ask themselves is there anything wrong with this persons post? Is there anything false or incorrect? I doubt there is any incorrect or wrong in the sense of (false info.) & describing the situation that refugees face!
To use the unknown or fear of the unknown is a cowardly attempt to justify their actions in opposing the refugees coming to Canada!
The FB Likes are from persons who let their first rush of emotion cloud their critical analytical and are not thinking things through to see unintended consequences. Have they even considered differing points of view without prejudice, or have they even seriously informed themselves of those views? Or considered the impact of the United Nations reliable report that over 70% of these people are able bodied men and not mothers and children? What might that and other reasoned arguments mean in upcoming times?
If the “Like” people people had to personally choose a small selection from the millions who are affected, they may be paralyzed by their emotions. Which mothers and children would have to be left behind? Would they choose so many able bodied men of military age or not?
What of the advice Ottawa bureaucrats first gave, that it was impossible to process that many in that time span? What of the legitimate immigrants, mothers and children, lined up and waiting their turn? Polls show a majority of Canadians are not in favour of the current process.
Do you need to give this some second sober thought?
I would question your facts on this, and frankly I would welcome an open debate about this. I believe that the attitudes with sober second thought, you might change your mind – if it’s open. But as a businessman and a part time lecturer at a university – I’m going to speak for myself only – I didn’t come to this only from emotion. I’ve seen the power that good can do.
I’ve heard this same argument/accusation too many times. If we want Canada to take in Syrian refugees, and think it would be unspeakable if we don’t, people say we’re coming from a place of emotion and not logic.
When I speak of some of the things you brought up in your post, people don’t want to hear it. It gets their backs up.
They will say how we had to join the world to fight the Nazis because they were insane, evil and wanted to take over the world and talk about the courage and sacrifice it took so the world could be free and we need to do the same where it concerns Daesh – well, absolutely, but what about the Syrian refugees? Well, they say, we can’t take the refugees.
Well, let’s talk about the refugees from the Nazis. Canada refused to take in Jewish refugees who made appeals from Europe and we actually sent boatloads back who made it to our shores. Right into the hands of the Nazis we were defending them from. How does that make any sense?
Talk about logic.
I am sure you would lose the debate Jim.
Most of us love our families & friends more than you do, that is obviously. Canada can not afford to put these “refugees” ahead of our Vets, homeless, poor & sick people. Plain & simple. No amount of screening is enough.
You are wrong in at least one of your statements. You have no idea how much I love my family. And you are the only one of the list of commenters who has gotten close to getting under my skin. Why? Because my family is my family – if you want to debate me, leave my family out of it. But debate? Name the place, name the time. And if the judges can be proven to be impartial, I’d gladly put a wager on it to make it interesting. All money going to charity of course. Like how about to be used to support a refugee if I win the debate?
I am American. You’re writing is the first I’ve shared. Thank you for expressing what confuses my heart!
Thank you! Very kind words.
So as a lecturer, you think you know better than others? Why is this not surprising? Based on your response to Bob Weder above, you are as close-minded in your suggestion that he isn’t bringing facts, as you think he is being to your open letter suggesting more tolerance. Until and unless people like you stop trying to tell other people what they should be thinking and doing, this country, and I would go further in including this world, will continue to be divided.
I think I was challenged as to what my qualifications were. I answered.
Really Bob??? With several factions fighting each other over in Syria…which do you propose these able bodied men fight for??? What would you do if our Prime Minister started killing innocent civilians, who then start fighting back, only to have the PM create another group to attack, all the while the military is also fighting you….what would you do??? Probably the same thing the civilians are doing…run!!
I think you need to revisit that “United Nations reliable report.” http://www.factcheck.org/2015/09/stretching-facts-on-syrian-refugees/
Before we oppose the process and say there isn’t time, perhaps we should learn what the process is. Here are some facts to consider. Canada is taking refugees from the UN camps. Some refugees have been there since 2011 and most for over a year as the camps have been full for quite some time (that is why people are walking in such numbers). Most have been screened long ago (using techniques acceptable to CSIS and RCMP). Priority is being given to families and those with children, also those hurt in bombings etc. It is not easy to get into Canada as a refugee, but if you have a passport you can visit in the time it takes to arrange a flight. I worry more about that then helping these people who are much in need and are being well vetted.
I 100% agree with all you have written. The only thing I don’t agree with on the whole immigrants coming to Canada is the fact that we, here in Canada, still have many, many people that are starving and can’t make it on their own either, but they are not getting any help.
Our Government sucks…..
I hope it will suck less and we will help the people here more. In the meantime, we have to do what we can do. Push the government and do what you can personally. As I’ve said, compassion is a muscle – the more exercise it gets the stronger it gets. That’s my hope.
Germany can take them in by the hundreds of thousands, and you are saying we can’t? Shame on you. And no, it is NOT mostly men, check the videos of the trek through Europe.
I think I need some clarification here – are you suggesting that because we can’t save all of them we shouldn’t save any? That turning our backs on all of them is much easier than watching the ones we can’t save die?
It reminds me of a story I’ve read about a little girl throwing stranded starfish from the beach back into the water. A man who has been watching her says “Why do you bother? You’ll never be able to make a difference for all of the starfish on this beach; there are far too many of them.” The little girl tosses another starfish back into the water and says “I made a difference for that one.”
Hi Bob – When quoting statistics, please share your source so that others can see the information too. I haven’t been able to find a “reliable report” that 70% are men. I did find this UN link: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php. It shows the demographics of Syrian refugees in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. The breakdown by gender and age is close to identical.
Hi Bob – Please give your source when quoting statistics so that others can see the source information too. I couldn’t find any “reliable report” of 70% men, but did find this UN site: http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php. It shows nearly equal numbers by gender and by age.
My husband’s father, who is now in his late 70’s, was the oldest of 13 children in his family. He came over from Holland around 60 years ago. Him, and him alone. All of his siblings and his parents were left behind in Holland, while he came here to work, to earn money and build a home, so that someday he could bring his whole family to Canada. Eventually they all made it here. They became hard working, important members of Canadian society. I see so many people looking down on these young, able bodied med coming here from Syria, wondering how they could leave their families, and pointing their fingers at them as if they are terrorists. They are not so very different however, than those seeking a better life for their families all that time ago.
Actually, the Syrian refugees are very different from the Dutch who came to Canada. There are significant numbers of ISIS supporters and/or sympathizers among the Syrian refugees. The Dutch who immigrated here were not, by comparison, Nazi sympathizers.
Since 3,000 refugees have been accepted so far as best I know, could you please tell me what source you have for your information? This is said sincerely. I do want to investigate every reliable piece of information that I can find. As I said, questioning security is a valid thing to do. Love to see the data.
The raw data on which my comments are based is contained in this report by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Development which was put together from a poll whose sample included Syrian refugees. http://english.dohainstitute.org/file/Get/40ebdf12-8960-4d18-8088-7c8a077e522e
Of course you are right jen…historically ..we know that these people have always helped to make Canada bigger,..stronger and BETTER than before. We need to look after one another,..because it makes all of US Better
Thank you for this – I agree completely – light and love will find away – darkness will not win !
Jim, you’ve gone viral in my world! Thanks so much!
Wonderful article. So inspiring and very well written. Thank you. I will be sharing this and encouraging others to as well.
I admire you for writing this beautiful article. peace for these people
Interesting comments. However you have perhaps not spent time in Europe watching these people coming through, the vast majority of whom are young men, no families, just looking for a better living by claiming benefits from wealthier countries. Countries who have given their blood over thousands of years to make life better and more democratic for future generations. Why do these people not stand and fight their aggressors as our ancestors did. They want the easy option, an option which our ancestors didn’t have. Yes it will be hard just as it was hard for our ancestors. That is reality
Democracy comes at a price, the question is, why should those of us who live in democracies have to pay that price, be it financial or human, if those who live there just run away and look for the easiest way out.
I’ve spent time in Europe and Africa. I’m certain there are people who want to improve their economic well-being. A lot of these refugees, from what I’ve read had very good lives in their country until the wars and the massacres started.
What price have you paid for the democracy you live in? Seems like the people – men or women – who are running from despotic governments we’ve created or supported for our own purposes are the only ones currently paying any price. It was hard for our immigrant ancestors. Immigrant being the key word. I’m not even comfortable with idea that anyone has the RIGHT to tell anyone else where they can live or travel on earth. Least of all those who live behind made up boundaries in wealth and security.
Valerie Byrne – Your comment is a little confusing to me. You think that young men (who are the prime recruits of extremists) should stay and against whom? They do not have the luxury of working on democratic institutions. You’ll note that many similar people who left Europe for the Americas and created vibrant democratic cultures here. And why do you say that the young men only want to live on benefits. People look for a better living by moving somewhere where work could be available. Where work and education are safe options, where they can start a family that they can support and who aren’t in constant danger of death or injury. My father left England (a democratic but highly class-determined) nation whose benefits have historically been very generous. He wanted to work and succeed by dint of his own efforts. He turned 20 the day after he got off the boat. I think the young men leaving the ME may have the same dreams, made even more keen by the level of threat they are fleeing. Have some empathy!
I don’t doubt it was hard for the Europeans, but not as hard as it was for the people they colonised and exploited and killed to make their riches. The west has created the chaos of dividing Arabia and Africa indiscriminately in the 20th century and continue to do so, see Iraq. In this chaos has ISIS come about. These people are fleeing terror, total devastation.
Thank you for changing my mind and opinion! Thank you for opening my eyes!
Thank you. Merci, Danke, Xi xi. hai hai, gracias. We must NOT let the terrorists win!!
Excellent piece, thank you, sharing..
Thank you for putting an eloquent and powerful voice to the thoughts I hope the majority of Canadians share.
Thank you for this!!!!!!!!!
As a proud Canadian I well the Syrians because they are trying to escape the volience and hate that prevails in that country now yes there are the ones who fall through the cracks but let’s not let these innocent people achieve the life they deserve so with that let them in and stop with the hate
So beautifully written. Reading this brought me to tears and confirmed my feelings on the refugee issue as well. This is the right thing to do.
Thank you for this. I have shared it on my Facebook and am hoping that all my friends share it too.
I have made many posts about this issue over the past week on my Facebook page. As a result my American cousins no longer “like” any of my posts lol. I continue to like and comment on pictures of their grand children and pets.
I, like you, still care about them. I just disagree with their sentiments about taking refugees into our country, or theirs for that matter.
I understand fear, even when it is totally unfounded. However, fear is something to be overcome not succumbed to.
This whole situation is just terribly sad. All we can do is try to educate those around us and perhaps influence within our small realm. If we all do this all those small circles may spread and some people will be saved.
Once again, thank you for your written thoughts. They are a moving and powerful till for my arsenal of tools against hatred.
I may be off a couple of people’s Christmas list as well 🙂 But my wife just got a note from one of her family members that said, “they were sorry they signed it.” So in the spirit of the post – don’t give up on them.
Thanks for this. I will post wherever I can.
Wow! Wow! Wow! So right in every possible way. I have come to the same conclusion but I can’t articulate it his well. I’m tired of even talking about it with FB friends. I’m tired of “How can you think that way?” I just want to help and do a tiny little something good. And I want to get personally involved and connect with one or two families and do what little I can. And maybe hear a bit of their story so I can relate to them as humans. I feel that this situation is an opportunity for me and for the country to put a human face to “those people over there” and I know that it will make me more human.
Thank you so much for writing this. And for feeling this.
I AM VERY SORRY I SIGNED IT. ALSO YOUR FACTS HAVE GIVEN ME A NEW LIGHT ON THINGS I PRAY THAT GOD HEARS OUR PRAYERS AND STEPS IN TO SHOW US THAT WE ALL NEED TO BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER PLEASE PRAY TO WHAT EVER GOD U WORSHIP AND HOPE HE INTERVENES TO MAKE US A BETTER WORLD AGAIN
I have some young adults in my life who are struggling as they face the xenophobia exhibited by some of their friends regarding refugees from Syria coming to Canada. Their urge is to just end the friendship in the face of inhumane comments and attitudes. I think your essay will help them reconsider the wisdom of slamming those doors shut. It has helped strengthen my own resolve to persist in a case or two where I have been tempted to just walk away. Thank you for your thoughtful effort.
Do you even know who Krystle Campbell, Martin Richard, and Lu Lingzi are? If you have to look up their names, you are a pathetic part of the problem. Those three will not be able to answer you if you say yes. Please find a way to tell their families they need to put compassion in their hearts. You tell them they are wrong for grieving for their family members, you tell them your way of naive compassion is more important than protecting other family members. How quickly you all forget. There is not enough room to put all the names of the 9/11 victims on here, I checked and I tried. You are more concerned with felling good about yourselves than protecting your neighbor. That is what makes a country great. Why do you even have border guards then? Just let everyone in who wants to come in, if love and compassion is all you need?
I post these because I feel that I shouldn’t just select those who agree with me. But I wanted to restrict those who are racist or offensive. I think this one is merely angry and I’ve posted it to show what we are up against and with the mantra that I won’t give up on people because they are angry or afraid.
Please sign and share widely friends https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Prime_Minister_Trudeau_of_Canada_Bring_refugees_to_Canada_dont_listen_to_the_voices_of_hate_and_fear/edit/
Thank you for writing. Your words ring true and call us all to be compassionate and welcoming. If it were me on one of those boats I would hope to have a welcome where ever I landed and help to start over. How can we do any less than this for these people. It is heart breaking what they have had to endure so far. I hope your words will change hearts.
Thank you for speaking out.
Wow!! this is the best commentary I have read in this sad situation we are in….Thank you for writing. Will be sharing as much as I can!! Hope you don’t mind but I will google translate it in French because there are some people who need to read this and they don’t speak English (I’m in Quebec where opposition to anything muslim is quite common & very sad because I know how you feel, how to convince some friends and colleagues of the points you mention). This is great!
If anyone could translate this into any language, please post it as a comment and I’ll make sure that it’s on the site as well. I have lots of friends in Quebec, many francophones who I think would agree with these sentiments.
Hungarians aren t a community that behead innocent Americans and they do not wish to conquer the women and children of America and take over until they conquer
With respect, Muslims are not a community that beheads innocent Americans either. Neither do Muslims wish to conquer the women and children of America and take over. If you really do believe this I urge you – I beg you – go to a local Mosque and meet these beautiful people. As I said earlier, I am not a Muslim but I have been welcomed into Mosques across the world and invited to pray and discuss with them.
The people who are beheading Americans are not doing it because they are Muslims. They are doing it because they are broken, sick, misguided or evil. Make no mistake, these brutal people are killing Muslims as well and in much greater numbers. That’s why we need to reach out. We are trying to save the refugees from the brutality of these broken, sick, misguided or evil people.
Neither are Syrian refugees. Nor were the Jews of Europe.
I would like to tell you that my husband came to Canada as a Hungarian refugee in 1956 ….they came in a red cross plane and were given $5.00 by the cdn red cross ….no fanfare for these people..they did not get welfare cheques, they did not get free housing..they got nothing .I am so proud to say that my husband worked as a bus boy at the Royal York Hotel,got a job at the bank of commerce and when he saved enough money, he went to York university and he got 2 degrees in education .these are the kind of refugees we need ….not the ones who think that this is a free ride..it should not be .Hungarians were/are peaceful people.there are no Hungarian terrorists…what does anyone really know about these Syrians ….quite frankly, I like my life in Canada …we live in peace here …those Syrians have the opportunity to work toward a peaceful country as well ….they need to go back to their own country and build a peaceful place to live .
I’m so glad that Canadians didn’t tell the Hungarians to “go back to where they came from.” That was in the recession times of the late 1950’s. We could easily have said, “hey, we have enough problems of our own” but we didn’t. I’m saddened that you, who have benefited from the generosity of this country, now want to slam the door on others. Saddened, but – I won’t give up on you either.
It’s my understanding that the terrorists (please let’s not call them Muslims) have killed many more Muslims than they have killed Americans.
Oh god, yes. Exponentially more.
I am someone who I think signed the petition but I was under the impression it wasn’t t stop refugees from coming but for the government to follow due diligence when screening these people. I regret that I was mistaken as I do think that refugees should come. I wouldn’t want to suffer or have my children suffer. Next time I am going to read twice before signing. 😟
Having read the intro to the petition, I can see how you could have been misled. And as I’ve said before, and to echo the Mayor of Calgary’s comments, I think it’s fair game to ask the government how they will do this correctly and manage the risk. Personally, I think that the risks are very low, having looked at the process and having had more than a little experience in this area.
But I also think that those who put the petition out made their true intent clear, when they said, “Petition is needed to stop resettling 25,000 refugees in our peaceful land!”
Well said…you have explained my feelings on this matter also…I hate seeing the hatred in my friends and people I thought valued the same things I do, Life, justice and peace is too taken for granted by us lucky Canadians but we do need to assist these frightened and at risk people!
Maybe the overpaid government officials should go out on the streets & ask the homeless of this country how they feel about giving these immigrants a ticket here, a place to live, feeding them, clothing them, giving them income, medical, education….. Need I continue?
I post your comment only because I committed to myself to not edit unless the comment was severely offensive or racist. With that said, I’ll leave your comments to speak for themselves.
Laura, scroll back up and read the thoughtful comment about the very issue you raise, namely, using resources to take care of the homeless (and the veterans, I would add), instead of diverting them to help the refugees. The essence of what this person wrote is the proper answer to your question:
“Why not embrace the power of ‘and’ instead of the poverty of ‘or’?”
There are enough resources to do BOTH, if only we will it.
Laura, you do not need to continue, but you do need to research your false claim. Sponsored refugees are not entitled to any government assistance. During the period of their sponsorship (which is usually a year after their arrival), their income is provided by sponsors and/or community groups. The objective is for them to become self-sufficient after that. As for your “overpaid government officials”, perhaps they will contribute to supporting both the homeless and a refugee family. Your wish to circumscribe Canadians’ charitable giving sounds like sour grapes. You also need to consider what immigrants have given to this country. Please think about this.
Thanks for this. I’ve included this in the post where I’m assembling as much credible information as possible to allow people to address the legitimate concerns and debunk some of the misinformation out there. It’s called “Constructive Dialogue..” Thanks!
I agree with you Laura.
I don’t know if this will work, but have you asked the homeless, because it seems they believe refugees need refuge. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153749963269939&set=a.10150182927814939.332590.503844938&type=3&theater
I agree. I’m sure the homeless are tired of being used as an excuse. As I said to one other commenter, why does this have to be either or. We can help the homeless and refugees as well. The last government found hundreds of millions of dollars to advertise. Cut that and we’d free up hundreds of millions. That’s just a start.
Yes, and they give back. http://www.thehousingcouncil.org/news/2015/01/homeless-no-more-refugees-lend-a-hand-dc-article-january-1-2015/
Hi Laura. The homeless of this country are living here in Canada now, and have access to medical care, education, food and clothing. The vast majority are not at imminent threat of death. They can even receive an income through social services. Many of the homeless are in their current condition due to addiction or mental illness. Should we refuse to help our neighbour who is being threatened with murder because we also have in our society those with mental illness or addictions?
I echo what the author of this piece has said: embrace the power of ‘and’. Let us help the refugees, and the homeless, and the addicted, and the ill. And, kudos to you for thinking of others who are currently suffering, and drawing attention to their plight.
Well said, Laura!
I wonder how many homeless people would like to exchange places? Just sayin.
Laura, don’t you think you can spare $2.14 from the taxes you paid this year? For just $2.14 per Canadian we can give 25,000 refugees sanctuary in 2015, a home where they won’t face the brutality they have run from in their homeland. That’s practically nothing, literally a cup of coffee, a couple of grapefruit, a pair of mitts from the bargain store…to give peace and shelter to one shattered fellow human being who has nothing left but hope for your love and support.
“don’t you think you can spare $2.14 from the taxes you paid this year? For just $2.14 per Canadian we can give 25,000 refugees sanctuary”
$2.14 per canadian (not even per -taxpayer-) amounts to some $3000 per refugee. What kind of year-long sanctuary can one get for that?
My mistake, Frank, that should have read $21.40 per person – a cup of coffee a month instead of a year. That would be $30,000 per refugee per year – but of course each of the 25,000 refugees would not receive that much because families would live together thus cutting the costs.
Jim – you been able to articulate so clearly what I have been feeling since, well since a long time ago! I remember the Hungarian refugees, the boat people, and so many more. Each wave of immigrants has enriched our country immeasurably. Recently I had resorted to unfollowing some people and deleting posts as I was overwhelmed by the vitriol, and yes, the stupidity, of the comments surfacing on FB,
You have shown me a better way to deal with the issue.
Would you mind if I shared your posting with some of my friends who have been posting these comments?
You and anyone else are welcome to share this. I didn’t write this with an aim to seeing it distributed so widely. I wrote it – as I said in an earlier blog – because that’s what I do. I write to understand and to work out my thoughts.
But I’ve been overwhelmed by the response. I think this piece has reached close to thirty thousand views as of tonight. That happened in less than three days. And while I don’t want any personal recognition from this, having seen the numbers of people who have signed that unfortunate petition, I think we need to generate numbers to prove that we – the often silent majority – respectfully disagree with those who want to stop the resettling of refugees. And make no mistake, they may criticize the haste of the Liberals but the petition says, (sic) “Petition is needed to stop resettling 25,000 refugees in our peaceful land!”
We need to gently, but firmly, compassionately but resolutely let these people know that we respectfully disagree. As the mayor of Calgary said in a recent interview, questioning the process is fair comment. If that’s the discussion we are going to have, I’m up for it.
Thank you for this. As a country we have to help the refugees. I cannot imagine the life they are living. We must make decisions as a country based on love and compassion, not fear and hatred. Decisions made based on fear do not end well.
I’m all for helping refugees come to this country as long as they’re properly screened beforehand…Unfortunately this is not the case in this scenario. Unfortunately under PET’s Charter of Rights if they step onto Canadian soil even if they are ISIS members we can’t get rid of them. I was also interested while reading your bio that I could see nothing listed which would lead me to believe you were any kind of an expert on this whole subject. Maybe you should stick to writing and leave the facts of the world and how it runs to people who’s minds aren’t in a fantasy writer’s world!
While I have travelled to Africa as a consultant to governments there, lectured in universities here and abroad, prayed in mosques although I’m not a Muslim, and been very active in politics including stints in policy development and working on leadership campaigns. I’m not sure I put myself out as an expert in this post. But I have also spent a great deal of time studying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Also, I was part of a group that prepared a challenge to the Supreme Court under the Charter with one of Canada’s most respected lawyers.
I doubt that this makes me an expert, but like everyone should, I have informed myself on the process that is being followed. So I must correct your error. The refugees that are admitted would be under provisional permits. If they were proven to have lied or to be members of a terrorist group, their permits could be revoked and they could be deported. So while I guess you can question my knowledge, I would point out with respect that you have your facts wrong.
So with respect, I’ll take your comment that I stick to writing under advisement. While I am an executive with a publishing company I have other aspects of my life where I fully intend to exercise my right to free speech, which is guaranteed to me under the Charter of Rights – of which I am incredibly proud.
I signed this petition , not because I do not empathized with the poor Syrians, but because it is time to empathized with our people here in USA, protect OUR children, our elderly and all American citizens. All jihadits are Muslims, and all Muslims believe in the Koran, that is the sad truth.
If you want to see what the Koran teaches, read it.
So right now I am deeply worry about our Country, May God Bless us all.
What is sad is that you couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s called the Qur’an which I suspect you would know if you had ever attempted to read it. I wouldn’t urge you to read it, it’s not the type of reading that you might suspect. It has passages that you need to take in context and interpret in the same way that you might take passages of old testament in the Bible. But at least go and meet an Imam or some knowledgeable Muslims and find out what it says to them. You may be very surprised. So please, take your own advice.
do you honestly believe that when (not if) a person if found out to have lied, or is found out to be a terrorist, that this person will be deported so easily?? you cannot see the immigration lawyers lining up in droves to take the case(s).. all the way to the supreme court and years of litigation.. not to mention they would bill us taxpayers for their services?, Civil right groups, bleeding hearts, Etc crying foul?
I don’t think it should be easy to deport someone without due process. But if they are found to be a terrorist (and I’ve written at length about how fanciful that will be) then yes, I think we deport people every day. In fact, we’ve deported a person this week to Columbia who will probably be killed if found when they get back there. So yes, we can and do deport people. Do they get every legal option available to them? Yup. That’s our system of justice established democratically by all of us.
everyone is entitled to their opinions. that is one of the greatest about Canada,
The cool thing is that I have no idea whether you agree or disagree with my blog – but we’ve found agreement in your statement. Cool!
I so wish there were “like” buttons on your replies. I also wish your epistle, and all of the comments that followed, could be made into required reading for every person calling themselves human.
Hey Dave, It would have given you a touch of credibility had you been able to refute any of his historical references/comparisons to Canada’s anti-refugee past. But you didn’t. Basically you told him to,”Shut up.” Which might work if we were in an elementary school yard, arguing at recess. So his detailed argument versus your unsubstantiated comment…easy choice for me.
Thank you so much for writing this and sharing it. You are a wonderful human being and the silent majority is waking up and speaking up. BRAVO Great Big Cyberspace Hugs
you do not know me. I shared this petition because the rush with the 25000 people before year end is reckless. Canadians do not need the fast tracking. Refugees that have all the proper credentials, pass all security requirements which takes time will be welcomed. This rush Justin Trudeau insists on is just not the wants or wishes of the majority of Canadians. This is what is causing the petitions – it is against his recklessness not against the refugees. Immigration has standards that must be met. By the way – how many refugees are you personally sponsoring?
I take offense of you question me. Who the hell are you, Your have your right to your opinion and I have mine. I am not prejudice, not a bigot. The family that purchased the home next to mine are Muslims from Northern Africa. They are a wonderful family. I taught them how to handle the snow in winter and they use my snowblower whenever the need it, I had a key made for them. I purchase Christmas presents for their three kids and they share their wonderful desserts that are prepared for their holidays with my family. So do not judge me. I want immigration to be controlled and successful for the refugees and for we Canadians.
Very well put. Couldn’t agree with you more. As a wise man once said ….. never leap into the ocean to save another before you ascertain you can swim.
Brenda with all due respect. Canadians may feel they do not need the fast tracking but I would wager that if any Canadian had to live just one day with what these refugees are going through they would have an entirely different attitude. As for it being reckless there are protocols and procedures in place that the RCMP and CSIS have shared in an interview recently. As for proper documentation – well if they had all that they could just get a passport and fly into Canada anytime they wish – more of a chance of them being part of terrorist group as the Mayor of Calgary has stated in a recent interview.
I appreciate that people are concerned but there is enough credible information on the internet to alleviate those concerns. As for you personally welcoming your neighbours – great.
My sponsorship of refugees has always been with groups, so our family cannot, nor would we pretend to be the sole sponsor. But I think that over the years, the parish I belonged to in Toronto’s overall total is 28 families. I could be wrong. But the number is pretty close. If your question was only to me personally, our family has sponsored 3 foster children overseas in troubled areas where local support was an option. And as much as I want to bring as many refugees to Canada as I can, there is a need for contributions to support those who are in the many refugee camps. As part of our participation in the recent crisis, we’ve just made contact with a new group that is aiming to sponsor one or perhaps two refugees. We hope to join this group at their next meeting.
If as you say, I am entitled to my opinion as you are yours, I’m not sure why you would ask this question. But since you asked.
I respect your opinion however many of us are not as informed as we should be regarding who we let into our country. Do you realize that 100 thousand foreign workers are let into Canada EVERY YEAR? http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/publications/employers/temp-foreign-worker-program.asp
The security checks on these folks are much less robust than what the refugees will be going through. How about the visitors alone from other continents? Over 100 thousand a year and there are minimum security checks.
I do not understand your fear, and this is not recklessness, there will be stringent security on refugees.
Thank you. As I’ve said and other have said – questioning whether we have the process right is absolutely fair. And those questions should be answered clearly. Citizens have a right to know and judge how well their government is conducting itself.
I totally agree. Amen. I still feel sorry for my great uncle who was not welcomed to Canada due to Glaucoma, no danger to anyone. My poor Great grandma crying for her son who could not join her here to our country all the way from Ukraine in 1927. He was sent back home, never to be heard from again. Lets take our time. why the rush?
TY TY for reading my mind so eloquently… u have said it truthfully and u have said it well… straight as a die!!!! will repost to reach as many as might see this in hopes that love for one another will prevail over ignorance and fear…. we are Canadians and we know better!!!!!!
I’ve always believed in helping your fellow man (or woman or child) and certainly the ISIS issue is no different. My heart breaks for these people that they have had to endure such horror that we Canadians rarely see. and it is our duty, not just as Canadians, but as fellow humans to help these people out….
Reblogged this on vancitydowntown.
Kudos! You demonstrate wisdom and compassion.
I was forwarded a racist rant and I responded with outrage equal to what I read. Then I talked to my daughter Lynn and she made me realize that everyone is entitled to an opinion and a much better response would be like I read here. Excessive tolerance or “holier than thou” is no response to intolerance for we then risk becoming intolerant.
Your daughter sounds like a very wise young lady. She’s raising you well 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t resist the joke. But you should be proud. I hope that this new generation are all like your daughter.
Thank you, Jim, for saying so eloquently what I feel.
Thank you for so eloquently putting exactly how I feel into words. You have helped me deal with my fears of being honest about this situation. I am now able to follow your lead and say how I really on my mind. My heart breaks at the violence and extreme barbarism in our world. I pray for those who suffer pain and horrendous loses and no longer have a country, a home or a life. They just exist. I understand that people feel we should take care of our own first. However to me that is a mask for fear and hatred. These people will probably say that they are not racist. I say that they need to take a closer look in the mirror.
What an amazing read. Thank you so much for putting into words how I sincerely hope most Canadians feel. We really must continue to do what is right, it’s who we are.
Very well written. I am sharing on facebook. My heart has broken when I have heard a number of the people I love and respect say such horrible things about the refugees coming in. I am so tired of one group of people being blamed for the crimes of the horrible few.
Very well written, and I do hope people read this article to the end. I think fear of the unknown is what controls most peoples opinions. I am by no means a racist, but while reading your article, many thoughts were going through my head. Things like, I agree with helping these people, but if they want to come to our country, they should live like Canadians. Then I continued to read, and what hit home for me was the part about former refugees that had come to Canada.
My grandparents all 4 of them were refugees from the 2nd world war. 2 of them are German, 1 is polish, and the other Scottish. Both my grandfathers fought as hitlers soldiers, they were forced to do horrific things, out of their own fear. My grandmother had a baby, from being raped by a German soldier, with no option to get rid of it, only to have the baby die of starvation at 6 months old. My grandfathers house was taken over by the army, because of where he lived on the border, he joined the army when he was just 12 years old.
Am I proud of my grandfathers roles in the army? Absolutely not, but they did what they needed to do to survive. When opportunity arose, they boarded a boat to Canada, leaving behind their friends and family, and most of their worldly possessions for a chance of freedom. I have friends who are Muslim, Hindu, etc.. Who have bravely shared their stories of how they came to Canada, under terrible conditions, much like those you wrote of in your article.
Most of us can’t handle change, even normal change. We are uncomfortable with changing houses, schools, kids growing up and moving out, new jobs, new foods, etc… Aren’t we privileged to have these options, or better yet, for these to be our big fears.
I do believe that EVERYONE in Canada needs to follow the same laws, and that too much is being altered to satisfy the beliefs of the religion, and that in turn Canadians are being forced to abandon their own beliefs. However, I don’t see why EVERYONE can’t celebrate, or worship in peace.
I am born and raised a Canadian, but I always put my boot out on Dec. 6th for St. Nicholas to fill, and celebrated Christmas with my “European” heritage, as do my children. Nobody ever complained that we were celebrating wrong, or forced us not too. Jewish families still celebrate Hanukkah, Purim, Passover, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. These celebrations remind us of where we came from, as they should, they are part of our heritage.
Nobody, not even government should have the right to take that away from us. That being said, may we all find a way to live with peace and acceptance.
In the spirit of the season “Merry Christmas” & “God Bless”
Lovely, sensitive and thoughtful. You put into works (and actions) the quote: “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.” Baha’u’llah” Thank you.
Is that a Bahai blessing? I just saw that again. Thank you. That is so wonderful. And from a religion that has maintained its beauty through so much persecution. Thank you.
While I understand the vicious attitude Europeans now have against these refugees, I certainly can’t accept that attitude. Europe is on high alert at this point. Ever since the attacks took place in Paris, there has not been a single day when the headlines aren’t packed with news about new, credible threats in other countries or raids that have proved these threats as actual legit threats. The problem, in my humble opinion, is that a lot of people consider these refugees as immigrants. And I’m sure some of them are immigrants, some of them surely are with the masses to get into Europe and exercise their radical ways, but it’s important to realise that most of these people are literary running for their lives. And let’s be honest, so would we. How can they possibly fight back? People who dismiss their cause and yell out ridiculous claims that the people should fight back, I urge you to get on any sort of transportation, go to the middle east and try and fight back an incredibly well organised world-wide threat with… rocks and sticks. While about a dozen countries are dropping bombs over your head.
The fact is Europe has to be prepared for further threats, there’s no question about it – better safe than sorry. Border control has to be on it’s toes, each and every refugee has to be submitted to a number of security precautions, each and every one of them have to be in a EU database, there have to be background checks and so on. This would in all probability make travel less comfortable for EU citizens like myself, but at this point, given these circumstances we have to be ready to give up some part of our freedom and comfort for the sake of just not dreading any means of traveling.
Also, the population of Europe is in decline. This is a dying continent. That and the fact that if you’re a refugee from the middle east, you probably don’t fancy moving a country or two away in the middle east that might come under attacks as well, makes perfect sense that the masses are coming to Europe, which until now was considered a relatively safe part of the world.
There cannot be an overall dismissal of the refugees that make their way here. In that case we cannot call ourselves a civilised union, but we do have to pay a lot more attention to these refugees. Create proper integration programmes and make arrangements for these people to actually be a part of our society and culture, because if we shut them out completely, then we essentially help ISIS in their ridiculous religious war.
Bit of a long comment, but I had to get my two cents here.
A great post by the way. I think more people should engage in communication about this subject. Who knows, someone might actually learn something!
The only solution that I can see that might be better than bringing them to another country with so much hatred is to have these countries put together their resources and find a very large island to inhabit. In doing this, they can all still stay together and live in peace and learn to farm the island and start over again. Then, if their homeland settles down and they choose to go back, they can. If they still want to go to another country, they will have to learn the language, have a job skill and go through the immigration process. The governments could supply the basic needs until they establish themselves.
Actually the ideal solution would be to bring peace to Syria but neither that nor the island are available in the short run. So we move to option two.
Thank you for this. I will repost as you have articulated what I’ve been wanting to say.
Thank you for articulating what I’ve been thinking!
It’s not hate….ITS FEAR…I know I’m afraid…the one thing I want to know is…if it were us…do you honestly think anyone would take us in with open arms…The world as we know it is not what we want it to be…those people and not all of them …but most..are born and bred to hate…and why don’t we worry about the people that are already here and living in poverty…I’m just not getting it…when these people come over…what do they do…they can’t speak .write or read our language…so what can they contribute to our society..we all know the come here and don’t even try to change…that’s a fact…so why do we ..in our own country need to adapt to these people…why..i will tell you why….FEAR…WE ARE AFRAID OF WHAT THESE PEOPLE CAN DO….SIMPLE ISNT IT…
What can they do? They can do what the boat people did, what the Hungarians did and frankly what most of our ancestors did. But as to your “fact” that they don’t try to change and your fear – wow! I feel sorry for you. For you, the terrorists have won. They’ve got you fearful. That’s a tough place to be.
Thank you for writing this – it has put my thoughts into words. I am so sad that people would not want to help. What has happened to empathy in our world?
I have always been realistic in knowing that this country was built with immigrants and refugees. While we are affected by fear mongers, we must take the time to think of this and realize that if current attitudes prevailed throughout history, there would be no Canada with its rich aggregate of cultures, religions, languages and ways of life. Each influx has been a risk but in our vast land, risk overall has proven minimal. Let our government do its utmost best to weed out the radicals while welcoming families who are merely searching for peace and happiness.
Thank you for your eloquent response to the hate and fear mongering. I am a second generation Canadian whose grandparents and their families fled Eastern Europe as WWII broke out. I am grateful Canada welcomed them, even though the sentiments of some were the same as those pressing for no refugees are today. Pleas continue your good work on this and I am sharing this as far and wide as I can. This will be going to many in the US who disagree and I hope that it will change at least a few minds.
I think your grandparents would be proud.
Have you considered arguing against a less strawmanish suggestion, namely to eschew quotas and deadlines, be highly circumspect about immigrant selection, and/or sending sustenance to the overseas camps where the refugees are (according to you) starving but at least safe?
I was reacting to what I was given and that was a petition that said, “stop the refugees”. Yes, it did go on to complain about the time but frankly, that was not sincere. A sincere petition would have been to improve the process and it would have given me some facts about why the process was flawed.
If the debate is about how to improve the process, as Naheed Nenshi said – “fair game”. Let’s discuss that. But if it’s “stop the refugees” then – well, I already wrote that response.
Thank you, Thank you! You have expressed what I feel, so eloquently that I don’t need to write it – I can share! ❤
I have posted your blog entry on my facebook page as this debate is quite vociferous amongst some of my friends, and I like your remarks. I think the issue that most who are opposed to the government actions raise – they are concerned about the speed with which our government is attempting to react. I believe their key issue is that time is needed to debate the issue, to qualify our response, to vet which refugees are legitimate. Unfortunately the governments of Greece, Germany, and others bearing the uncontrolled influx do not have that luxury- I presume we do not wish to adopt the position of Hungary. And now on the cusp of a widened military action – while we pull our jets out – I believe the least we can do is step up and help with the humanitarian effort while others significantly increase the intensity of bombing and, I expect, ground action. We should bring refugees here. That said, I believe our government can do a better better job to allay the legitimate concerns raised: we must clearly and effectively communicate the process of selecting refugees to bring here, and articulate the consequences to any refugees who come here in bad faith – we must send offenders back just as quickly. Legitimate refugees deserve help, we deserve security in our generosity. I also think that – as 9/11 changed the world response to Al-Qaeda, so too have ISIS actions. The actions of the former had us put troops in Afghanistan. Do the recent actions of the latter not also warrant decisive action from Canada? Decisive action does not always have to be military in nature, although I think it is warranted in the circumstances of recent events. Humanitarian and military action need not be either/or as well.
Sounds like a tough but thoughtful discussion that you are trying to have. I wish you the best! You are grappling with the issues and seem to be trying to do that thoughtfully.
Different times. The west and the United nations should go in destroy isis
… Bringing in these refuges is a mistake. We should stabilize the region rebuild allow people to live with dignity. Mr. Trudeau lacks the skills to manage this situation. Canada will pay with blood and disorder. All the Liberal members should take in these refugees into there own home first lead by example not by guilt.
Liberals (and many Conservatives and NDP and Greens) are taking your advice. We should take the refugees into our home – and our home is Canada. As for your assessment of Mr. Trudeau, I think the last person who said he “wasn’t up the challenge” got his ass handed to him in the election. So whether you voted for him or not, agree with him or not, I think he’s proven that he’s a capable young man.
Reblogged this on Evolving Teaching.
I could not have said it any better myself! Very well done, and thank you !
You are right for love and compassion but in Islam the Quran there is no love and compassion for you and you way of life.Linda says love for one another will prevail let see in Germany” France”England”etc in 5 yrs .Its not to be ignorant and hatred to look around us and see what the teaching is to the children where you for sharia law in Ontario this is what is promoted around the world .We can be in disagreement with muslin does not mean to hate them. In this country nothing wrong to say we don’t agree with the hatred that’s in the Quran .Google (Hate verses or disbelievers) in the Quran and a lot of muslin don’t know about it but its there you will print 20 pages. Lets hope in this country they will see that the Bible is not corrupt and been change and that disbelievers should be kill does that promote hatred
All Canadians deserve to live in peace
I agree with only one thing you’ve said. “We can be in disagreement without hate.” I hope that one day you discover that we can be in disagreement and still find compassion. Oh, maybe there is a second thing I agree with you on. All Canadians deserve to live in peace. But where we part ways is that I think that peace can only come from compassion and justice, not from war.
While I sympathize with all you do-gooders out there, I can’t help but wonder where the resources to take care of these refugees is going to come from. I know that your answer is the government, but don’t you realize that money comes from the people. Some of these people have a hard time keeping up with their bills and feeding their kids while working five days a week. Why should you take some of their money without their consent,to feed 25 thousand people from another country that can’t take care of its own problems. Why not use some of this money to find homes for those in our own country who are homeless, or don’t have money for their next meal? And then why stop at 25000? Don’t the other 200 million deserve your help also? Here’s my suggestion: All you do-gooders with all you wealth, combine your own money and take care of these refugees; and stop spending somebody else’s hard-earned money. And don’t forget those other millions in Africa and more millions in other parts of the world who need your help. Why stop at 25000? Better still, go to those poor countries and feed them there and teach them how to take care of themselves. My grandpa used to say: If you don’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of, don’t go breeding like rabbits…
Huh? I have to say, I hope you can make sense of your opinion. I cannot for the life of me figure it out. Anyone who does good or has compassion shouldn’t have it because we can’t ….. You lost me. I have no idea what you are talking about. But here’s the deal. If someone wants to call me a “do gooder” as a perjorative, I’ll take that. Does that make you a “do badder”? Anyway, I don’t get it, but I’ll let your opinion stand on its own.
I’m passing this eloquent and deeply moral screed on. Thank You!
I believe that all that is happening and going to happen as Nostrsdamus forecast in the 1500 and can not be changed. Also I believe the world as we know it will come to an end as we enter another ice age that might last 5,000 years before the world is back to the way we like it. This is not the first time this has happened and so long as the solar system exists the is something that will occur over and over again.
To confirm this the River Thames in England;ad in he 1500-1600 when the river froze over. and where the re was farmers market was held on the ice ad slowly over the next few centuriies the world had warmed up,
I’ll post this so your voice is heard. I don’t accept your belief, but I can’t refute it.
Thank you for your letter. I am aware of everything you have written. But I am still firmly convinced that letting in Syrian refugees is the wrong approach.
First of all, the solution to problems in the camps is to improve the camps, not accept uncontrolled immigration into Canada. It’s like having a car in a garage and thieves breaking in to steal it. You don’t get rid of the car. You beef up security for your garage and you arrest the thieves. If the Syrian refugees need food, water, better security, I am certainly in favour of that being provided to them. We would be providing it – and more in terms of housing and processing costs – to them if they came here anyways. In properly-run refugee camps, these people are safe.
Letting them into Canada, though, is very dangerous. Unlike many other waves of immigrants, we know that between 13 and a third of these Syrian refugees support a terrorist organization called ISIS. The Jews that came here did not support Nazism. The South Koreans that came here did not support communism. And, in any case, communism is an economic system, not a terrorist organization. I am okay with people differing with me on political views; I’m just not okay with them blowing me up.
I have absolutely no confidence in the validity of claims that 25,000 people can be processed for criminal record checks, terrorist affiliations and health inspections by Christmas this year. This claim defies all reason and once a person has been brought into Canada, they cannot then be put on a plane and sent back to Syria. Our system does not work that way. This means that if terrorists get in, we would be stuck with them in Canada. This is an unacceptable risk to the security of Canadians.
Besides, it is morally wrong for the refugees to be forced to leave Syria, their homeland. The innocent and peaceful Syrians deserve our help to rid themselves of ISIS, restore peace and rebuild their homes so that they can reclaim their homeland for themselves. If we allow ISIS to seize a country through acts of terrorism, we are rewarding them with land and money and power. We are, in effect, telling them that terrorism works and they should step up their efforts to gain even more land and power.
This is morally reprehensible. Civilized nations everywhere need to go into Syria, destroy ISIS and help the refugees to go back to their homes and rebuild. This is the only reasonable way to break the cycle of violence and poverty.
Experts have clearly demonstrated that in-migration of refugees to North America cannot solve global poverty. In fact, taking immigrants from poorer countries instead tends to exacerbate the level of poverty in those countries and make things worse for those people who remain there.
The right way to make a difference is to restore peace to Syria, help the refugees rebuild, and provide assistance to raise the standard of living of all Syrians in their own homeland with solutions which are made-in-Syria and sensitive to their cultural and physical reality.
I realize that this solution may not be as politically correct and is a lot harder work than taking the passive approach of opening the doors to immigration in Canada. But the right thing is seldom the easy thing.
Thanks for your opinion. I’d challenge the percentage that you have put in there. It’s actually impossible for you to know that until you see the results of the screening. And since many of these people are running from ISIS, I also find your percentage problematic. How they would supposedly believe in ISIS and still be on the run is stretching credibility. If you find a reliable source of this information, it may be wise to quote it. We’ll try to do some research.
As for the rest of your argument, I will let you make that on your own. In part, I agree that we also need to improve the life in the camps. In other parts, I simply can’t buy the argument. Canada isn’t forcing anyone to leave. Those who are coming are those who want to come here – or to any safe place. And if we bought the argument that no one should leave their homeland in time of crisis, we wouldn’t have the nation we have today.
The percentages I cited were from the only poll I have seen of Syrian refugees. That poll was reported by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Development and can be found here: http://english.dohainstitute.org/file/Get/40ebdf12-8960-4d18-8088-7c8a077e522e
As for my position that immigration of foreigners to Canada does little to alleviate that nation’s poverty, that is based on a talk made by an expert on the subject. His presentation can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE
Of course, this issue of Syrian refugees is one on which many people have made their decisions for purely emotional reasons. If that is the basis for a person’s decision, then no amount of facts or no reasoned discussion is likely to change their mind. As things stand, the Canadian government has made a decision for purely political reasons that it will probably regret. I can only hope I am completely wrong.
Thanks. This got buried in the mail. I did look at the first document and I think I responded on another comment you had made. I read it, but don’t draw the same conclusions from the data. My other response had the details of that.
As far as immigration alleviating another nation’s poverty, I will watch this, but it’s not in my argument at all. In fact, quite the opposite might be true. We might actually take the best and brightest from other countries, which is why I support charities that help people solve their own problems in economically depressed countries. And frankly, the more we keep our western ideas and solutions to ourselves and let people take the lead in solving their own problems, the better off we are. That doesn’t mean we don’t fund the solution or feed the hungry – it means we don’t try to make them into little version of us. But that’s a tangent, sorry.
What I really mean is that refugees need safety and sometimes a new place to start again. That’s what we offer. It won’t help their country – only peace can do that. When people stop dropping bombs on them and killing them, they might be happier having stayed in their own country. I think that some think the Syrians were all poor economic migrants using the war and conflict as their access to the rich west. Not accusing you of this. But from what I’ve read and seen, many of them are our version of working and middle class people that had jobs, professions and lives before the conflict drove them out.
And I agree, we’ve made decisions for emotional reasons. We see people suffering and we want to help. I’m good with that.
And when a government makes its equivalent of an “emotional” decision, i.e. reflecting the outcry of the population, that is a political decision. Might we do the right things and have some regrets? I guess that’s possible. But historically, that’s not what’s happened. We’ve welcomed waves of immigration in for those in crisis – and I don’t think anyone would argue that we have lived to regret it. We might not have always managed it well, but regret? Don’t think so.
But the one we do regret was pre WWII when we did nothing for the boatload of Jews we sent back. That’s one that I think a number of us have regrets.
So I’m not sure that I disagree with anything you’ve said, but I have the feeling that you are proving that apples exist and I’m talking about oranges.
We’d need a longer conversation to try to make sense of this.
Totally agree James
I am American and with you James, as many number of women and children that they can get processed i would be ok with, sponsors for them that are here already, but having them leave their countries and let ISIS win i am not ok with,helping improve their conditions i am ok with,training them to properly battle them, humanitarian efforts yes! everything else just lets ISIS gain more ground, there are plenty of other options here that needs to be put in action first, other than rushing to letting more come over here ..where are the rich oil countries that could help and are much closer?compassionate ,but not gulable
Well said! I do not think people really actually listen to this..they only want to hear what they want..so true with everything!
I dont agree with this at all and wont share it. Over 60,000 people in Alberta alone (and counting) have lost their jobs. Will property management companies give them cut rates on their rents as one is doing for the refugees and maybe others are. Will the government supplement their EI to bring it up to an affordable amount like they are going to give the refugees so they don’t lose their homes? Will the government help many from losing their homes if they lose their jobs. The food banks in Alberta (and I am sure other provinces) are already dealing with so many more in need and not as much coming in. As the winter approaches this will get worse. I give to the food bank and also donate warm clothing to charities for the homeless and needy but how many more will not be able to because now they are in bad situations with no work and have less income. these areas will suffer more as time goes on with the economy issues.
I have compassion for these refugees but I am opposed to this fast racking and bringing in so many into Canada when things are bad for many here. Especially when so many of them are able bodied men that should be staying in their country and fighting against the problem rather than run from it. Other countries are fighting their war while they run.
I am glad that you are helping where you see fit. I’ve never asked that anyone share this if they feel it isn’t in their heart. You have a total right to give wherever your heart leads you. All I’ve asked that if anyone actively opposes bringing refugees in that we have a right to make the case why things like that petition are a bad idea. And I’ve asked that people mount this opposition with all the compassion they can muster. Thank you for your comments.
Are the unemployed in Alberta being targeted by the Trudeau government? Are guns firing bullets at them? Are bombs being hurled from terrorist, government and foreign allies’ aircrafts and missiles? Are Albertan wives, mothers and daughters being raped by the thousands while fathers, husbands and sons are held at gunpoint and forced to watch their love one being violated? Are Alberta workers being forced to live in tents on 500 calories a day for year upon year because their homes have been burned to the ground and all they have worked for snatched from them by thugs and bandits?
Thank God we have developed a way to help those who have fallen on hard times, a social safety net to catch and support them. Yes, they might have to sell one of their cars, perhaps a snowmobile or their holiday home. They may even lose their primary homes (a terrible shame) but they have personal security and a social safety net that should protect them. If it doesn’t then perhaps Albertans/Canadians should think about where all those billions in profits were spent and why some of it wasn’t put aside for a day when the economy may not be able to support an industry that gives a select few millions while those laid off have far less to fall back on.
I hear you and as a compassionate person my heart hurts for the refugees. However, everyday I work at a University where we get indigent people hurting, lacking money, homes, jobs, support. Homelessness abounds in this country and we are cutting programs which support the mentally ill, elderly, sick, veterans and other indigent people. While we should not have to choose which of our brethren to assist, I challenge each of us to go to the the least of those in our cities and begin helping there. I wish some of the executives who make 50 million per year would help heal homelessness in the US. I wish we could help every person around the world who is suffering, but is that realistic? Help one person today.
I agree. It’s not an either or – it’s an “and”. We need to attack the scourge of homelessness as well.
These Refuges deserve a new life, they will become Canadian Citizens
and there children will have a new start in life.
Glad Canada is excepting these Refuges, they are welcome to Canada, these people have family’s and will make good Canadian Citizens.
The hatred? HATRED? What hatred?? Fear, certainly but HATRED!? C’mon people. If you portray my fear as hatred, you dramatically diminish your potential to alter my perception. And don’t think that my fear is for myself. It is not. My fear is for the safety of my family members, my friends, my neighbours. Now, once you know it is fear and not hatred that is driving my reactions, then you should realize that, the way to mitigate fear is through education. If you object to my reactions, then you have an obligation to present some facts to demonstrate that my fears are unfounded or unjustified.
Incidentally, it is a fact that fear can co-exist with both wisdom and compassion. Indeed, it can be most unwise to not be fearful. Imagine you are camping in an area with your family when a forest fire breaks out. You see a fawn trapped in the woods, disoriented in the smoke and flames. If you don’t rush into the inferno and save that fawn, shall I say you are unwise? indifferent? HATEFUL of fawns?
I hope that no one has accused you wrongly. And if you want some information on safety, I’ve posted another blog where I’ll try to provide some information from reliable sources that will help people understand what is in place to prevent safety issues and which might dispel some of the myths. And as I’ve said, and I think many agree, questions are valid and should be answered.
Is hatred a bad thing? Shouldn’t we hate the evil that is responsible for uprooting these families? Why is it that many of the same people who portray my concern for the safety of my family, friends, and neighbours as hatred, are intolerant of those who advocate the killing and destruction of the evil that is responsible? Perhaps we should re-evaluate our continued tolerance for the evil that causes this turmoil. Why are we so eager to help the displaced AFTER they are displaced but not BEFORE?? Where is the wisdom and compassion in THAT behaviour?
Discussion of safety is certainly a priority. If you look at the other blog on this site, “Constructive Dialogue” there are a number of credible resources which will help you understand the steps that are in place to protect your security.
And I totally agree with you. It’s a longer discussion but there is evil in the world that we need to oppose it. And wouldn’t it be wonderful to take actions that will prevent the displacement of people. But we forget that we in the west have been intervening for years and all I’ve seen is an acceleration of the problems. We need a constructive discussion to find a better way. Totally agree. But like the emergency ward doctor, you first need to stop the bleeding and then you can deal with the overall health of the patient.
Killing innocent civilians doesn’t end war or strife, it fuels more hatred and more violence. Suffering, mental or physical, is the cause of war – if we learn to share our resources, extend a loving hand to those needing love, provide a social safety net that feeds the hungry, safe shelter for the cold and weary, education for starving minds, paintbrushes and musical instruments to artists, if we don’t send our children out to kill or be killed for several generations we stand a chance of peace. We will never be safe until we put an end to war and spend the billions we now direct at killing and maiming each other on building a better world for each and every one of us. If we all share equally in our planet’s rich resources and justice is equally meted to rich, poor and powerful, our grandchildren stand a chance of safety and security. It’s time to put money and effort into a cure for psychopathy.
Jim, as the others have said..Thank you. As a Canadian in Australia, I will be passing this around Oz as the sentiments are just as similar. Thank you, thank you.
I love Australia. Especially at this time of year 🙂 I hope that you are having a great time there! And I hope that Australians will open their hearts as well. All the best.
Reblogged this on silent lucidity.
Thank you for voicing this so eloquently.
I was against letting in the Syrian refugees not because I’m prejudice not because of their language differences or their religious differences it was because I feared ISIS would be imbedded into the refugee efforts. After much thought and much prayer I know we need to help these poor people! I am tired of people bashing one another on FB about whether to help or not help if we let fear get in the way then ISIS wins! I am going to help! You said it all so beautifully thank you!
I agree with you 200%. I posted this on my page yesterday.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14-17).
It is not enough for us to just pray for the people caught up in this war of the terrorists. We must help them. We cannot just lock ourselves up in our country and hope that someone else helps them. We must do all that we can to stop terrorism and to help those affected by it. And you are right, Jim, it is not either or, we must do our utmost to help all who need help, not just some. I’m so tired of all these people who claim to be good people and good Christians trying to shut out these refugees from getting the help they need.
well written and worded, hopefully this will reach the hearts of those opposed to opening up our country and allowing the refugees to come in peace
Reblogged this on jlscaife and commented:
So. When we make the grave error and allow for these refugees to come here.
Who is supplementing my income and feeding my children as I get the luxury tax that follows.
Just once perhaps we should look at our own starving children and our own freezing homeless people woman and children.
Before we think how we can help others.
Not to mention the Shear ability that we are openly inviting these Isis members hiding within the refugees as they so openly stated in Paris.
Whose protecting us the Canadians then you?
Listen nobody has said this is not horrific but we watch starving people everyday what do you do about that?
How ignorant of you to think we are all ignorant for wanting to protect our own children and our own country from and open door of what could kill our babies.
Knowing we could have done something to stop it.
Sign the petition until we can
Feed and clothes and house our own starving children.
I do not feel ashamed in the least for not idly watching this possibly take the lives of our own people. As you so openly stated watch my children die horrifically because we tried to save someone else’s what more hell could there be.
Wow. I think I found another form of hell. If you really believe all of this – you are living in that hell now. You acknolwedge that it is horrific and you watch starving people every day. And do nothing? Sad to be you.
Pingback: A great read in favour of immigration for refugees. | the next chapter 204
Political parties, bloggers, corporations and celebrities all desire traffic, followers, subscribers and “likes.” An easy way to drive traffic to a site is with controversy. So why not utilize our tribal nature and urge people to pick sides?
I suspect that 90% of Canadians possess a combination of compassion as well as caution in this matter. But we are urged by page-owners to to be “pro-refugee” or “anti-refugee.” So instead of thoughtful and intelligent conversations, we fight with each other.
Right on as always Dave. As an aside, if others are reading this comment and you want to find a way out of this morass, check out Dave’s ideas on being a “Real Human Being”. I credit Dave with being an influence on my thinking.
The inhumanity these days is astounding. Thank you for writing this piece. We need more voices of reason and peace in these dark times.
Thanks for this, wish everyone would read. We think we have it rough but we have never suffered like these people have, we must open our hearts and be the country we think we are.
As an IT person I am surprised as folks think we do not have the ability to write only code and press buttons 🙂
Well thought out message,. Bless you
I really don’t think that the people of Canada oppose the refugees coming here BUT I fear for my children , grandchildren and great grandchildren . Don’t try and tell me 25000 people can be screened properly in the little time that our dear sweet government has chosen . If they took 2 years to screen before this happened ,how can it take only 2 months to screen that many people now? I also worry about the sicknesses they can bring. We are fighting enough diseases in our country now!! I am not a racist but I just think they should take more time. Those people are safe right now so stop and think!!!!
Actually, if you read about the process it’s quite possible to do this screening in a short time. Technology advancements and databases allow rapid checks and the interviewers and researchers are quite skilled. I posted some resources in the blog “Constructive Dialogue” also on http://www.changethegame.ca Check it out if you’d like. And no one is arguing that they shouldn’t take the time they need. But if you don’t set goals, little gets done.
Your blanket assertion of advanced technology, databases, and perfect sensitivity & selectivity (from an earlier comment) are remarkable. How can one seriously think that such exaggerations will comfort rather than worry skeptics?
You really need to watch the documentary on Snowden just to get an idea of how much intelligence there is out there. I can’t change the skeptics, but as I investigate the process more and more, I’m comforted by the thoroughness of it. As I’ve also pointed out, however, smuggling a terrorist in as a refugee is a really dumb idea. I think these terrorists are twisted, sick or evil – I don’t think they are stupid. In fact, thinking that they are stupid is probably a great way
I’m curious, Jim. I liked your piece, but how do you view the apparent decision by the Canadian government to limit the refugees to women, children and families? I have my own thoughts, but I’ll hang up and listen.
So well written and such compelling arguments for accepting these poor refugees. Thank you so much.
Thank you for putting into words what has been weighing, oh so heavily, on my heart!!
Thank you. From the bottom of my heart all I can say is thank you. Brilliant writing, astounding eloquence, and tolerant challenging. Thank you.
Thank you for this
Eye opening, and hopefully opening a few hearts
I’ve just read this in Brisbane, Australia, thanks to a FB post by a former work colleague. I will be sharing it with my network of friends and colleagues because this is what everyone needs to read, regardless of where they live. Thank you for articulating what needs to be said. All the best.
Reblogged this on The Apprentice (UCM Style).
Thank-you for articulating what needs to be said. I appreciate both the heartfelt sensibility that warms the words on the page as well as the clarity and validity of their arrangement. Too often we embrace black-and-white reasoning (“either we help the refugees or our own”, “either we fight the terrorists or let them all in”) and let fear, anger and anguish fill our minds and internet pages.
Just because Canadians are afraid of the possible consequences with the arrival of Syrian refugees does not make them red neck assholes.
I agree. That was the point of my post.
“So well written and such compelling arguments …”
The test of that is if any minds were changed. I see a lot of anti-straw-man or red-herring level argumentation that is high on passion but low on logic.
I’m not sure, but we have had a couple of people who have written me saying they are sorry they signed the petition. Small victories at least.
Thank you for sharing your perspective and re-aligning mine. One must visit the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg to see/read about the atrocities that have been committed against so many…helping others and helping our own are not mutually exclusive. We have the capacity and resources to do it. It is the ‘will’ that will make it happen. I would hate to see a repeat of how the Jewish people were treated by Canada during the WWII. It is, IMHO, a blight on our reputation and humanity, and I really would hate to see history repeat itself.
Yes. What we did during the war is a blight on our history.
I think the majority, are not against the refugees, but wanting to make sure that things are handled well with screening, Also anyone that is going to help the refugees, maybe you should also help a young person who has lost their job, or a elderly person in need of a hand. our food banks are suffering terribly as need is high .. help that out.
Totally agree. I think people want this done well. And I think we all want to help our neighbours. If everyone that commented would give a few bucks (according to their ability) this blog would have helped raise consciousness of the refugee issue and it would have helped feed a few of our neighbours in need. Good for you in thinking so compassionately. As I read through the comments I take inspiration from people like you.
I believe that just the fact we are having this debate has cheapened and debased us as a country and as people. We are one of the wealthiest countries that has ever existed in terms of living space, resources, and the collective education and skills of our people. We are also one of the safest countries on the planet due to our physical separation from the world,s trouble spots. The fact that we have poor and needy Canadians amongst us is not a reflection of our nation’s “precarious economic situation,” it is a reflection of how we choose to distribute wealth. Where I grew up, a tiny island in Georgia Straight in the 1950s, if someone genuinely needed your help you’d consider yourself a selfish arsehole if you didn’t offer it. Seems to me there could be a lot of that about these days.
Thank you for posting this. I’m with you all the way.
It’s easy really. Muslims go to Muslim culture countries. Christians go to Christian culture countries. It’s so easy that you have to wonder why everyone can’t understand that is the peace. Maybe Canada hates Christians too even though our laws are based on it.
Not sure what you mean here. But Canada is a secular state that embraces all religions – even Buddhists like me.
If the comments about opening our doors to Syrian refugees are any indication, the increased interest in the welfare of Canada’s poor and homeless will result in a dramatic increase in donations, and a line-up of volunteers offering to help at our soup kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters, no? Oh Canada! Looks like a win-win situation to me! Thank you for your eloquent commentary, Jim.
Thank you so much for taking the time to address this issue so articulately. This subject has been weighing heavily on my mind and my heart, and I’m glad to have found your piece after many disagreements with people whom I wouldn’t have ever guessed to feel the way they do. Kind, giving people on any other day. I have sent this to them in hopes of shedding some light on a subject about which they are so ignorant.
I have used this piece as a way to make peace with some.
I loved it, and I will be subscribing!
Keep up the great work.
Good for you. I love that you are using it as a way of making peace. I’m struggling to live up to the title of the blog. I take inspiration from people like you.
If the comments about opening our doors to Syrian refugees are any indication, the increased interest in the welfare of Canada’s poor and homeless will result in a dramatic increase in donations, and a line-up of volunteers offering to help at our soup kitchens, food banks and homeless shelters, no? Oh Canada! Looks like a win-win situation to me. Thank you for your eloquent commentary, Jim. I’ve shared it.
Lovely post I shared and it is being shared (I hear the bing) as I type. THank you for writing. I agree. “Compassion is not a commodity that you spend – it’s a muscle that gets stronger with use.”
My sentiments exactly! Excellent piece!
Jim, How did you get on my face book? As a NGO delegate to the Earth Summit in Rio, (1992), as a feminist, activist, fighter for the disposed, the weak, the silenced, the marginalized, how could you think that I wouldn’t be in favour of bringing refugees in as quickly and safely as possible?
Not sure what you mean about how I got on your face book, but you seem to have done great things. Thank you.
Jim,you seem to have all the answers,and anyone with a different point of view to you is not well informed.Talk to the mothers,sisters,fathers and friends who have lost loved ones fighting those terrorists,walk a mile in their shoes,and above all try to somehow understand and respect opinions of others.I think James Risdon shared many good points,and We who signed this petition had nothing against good people coming to our Country,it,s the undercover terrorists that are intelligent enought to grasp this opportunity to get their people into our country,and believe me,they will.
If that’s how you feel, great. Because if you read up on the screening process, you’ll ask to take your name off the petition. As I’ve pointed out and many others have, the screening process is thorough and the bad guys don’t need to hide as refugees – the guys who attacked Paris had valid passports that could easily have got them into Canada.
A very small minority of these people (Muslims) on the other hand would not hesitate to rise up in anger and drive out any jewish family who came into their midst for help in any crisis. They have a very narrow margin for tolerance on their own turf and sometimes a few years of asylum is enough for them to decide some westerners were the reason for their problems.
Not sure I fully understand what you are saying here.
Thank you! Spot on!
Not sure if you had seen this uploaded Jim but here is Paul Nadeau’s TED talk – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjUAb6kH3Ag
I’m a refugee.
After reading this piece and ALL the responses in the comment session, I feel inclined to write about me and my experience as a refugee in Canada. I hope I don’t scare (or offend) some of you by intervening in your conversations. I want you to know that we are also human beings and we are living a peaceful existence among you (there are a lot of us here and as long as I know, we have manage not to blow you up).
The first thing I want to convey with this post is that there are no words to express the gratitude that I have for all that Canada has done for me and my family. I feel happy here and I am now proud to call Canada my home. I won’t go further as I honestly think that anything I say would fall short of what I fell.
Second, I want to share a bit of my story so you I can debunk some must related to refugees in Canada. I won’t go into many details as why I’m here. I’d just say that my life before coming here was not pretty. What I want to share is a happy story and one that hopefully gives you some reassurance that we can give back (and not just blow you up). My husband and I arrived in Toronto with $200 in our pocket, but our hearts were full of hope and fear. We were determined to succeed. Yes, we did received help from the government, but contrary contrary to what people are saying, it wasn’t much. We got welfare as any regular Canadian in need and that was it, not a car, not furniture, or any other material stuff. We also got health care, but not medications. But, to us that was more than enough. If you want to know, our monthly allowance was almost $800 per month. We paid $700 for rent and got some food from the food bank (there so much KD you can eat, right?). The rest was spend in transportation and some other basic necessities. Unfortunately, we couldn’t speak any English when we came back and this was a big issue, but once again, with a little help, we were able to move on. 11 months after arriving in Canada, both my husband and me were working and out of the welfare system. We didn’t stole anyone’s job (or husband, or kids, or property). We worked hard because we knew the dark side and knew that our future depended on that. After a couple of years and extreme saving, we took turns to go to university to improve our chances in this new land. My husband went first and was able to complete, in record time, an undergrad and a Masters degree – once again, we knew our goal and fought for it. Then, it was my turn and this year I got my meters degree as well. No, the government didn’t pay for our education (just the English clasess). We have student loans, like everybody else! Because we want to be like everybody else, that’s it.
We are now working in good jobs and paying taxes and contributing to this society. I also have had 2 kids (I like to think that they are Canadians like you and not second class citizens like us) who will be paying for some of your pensions in the future. We also do volunteer job and are law abiding citizens – we have never even gotten a traffic ticket.
My story is not better than others. Actually most of the refugees that I know have similar feelings and stories. We are grateful for having a second chance and will NEVER do anything to jeopardize the life we have in Canada. To the contrary, we all want to pay it back and forward. PLEASE DO NOT FEAR (OR HATE) US, WE ARE HUMAN BEINS JUST LIKE YOU. Oh, and also, please don’t believe everything you read out there. If in doubt, ask us, we are closer than you think (and we are nice!).
Great to hear your story Andrea. And I’m so glad you have found a safer country. Wishing you peace and happiness. Kathy (from Australia)
You are Canadians
No-one is disputing that refugees are human beings. And I have nothing against either Muslims or Syrians. I do, however, have something against people who support a terrorist organization which has stated it wants to blow up Canadians. And that is the case with this current group of refugees. An Arabic think tank has reported that 13 per cent of Syrian refugees have a positive view of ISIS, a terrorist organization that kills innocent people, and 31 per cent of Syrian refugees do not want to see ISIS destroyed or hurt. Since the Canadian government has not demonstrated that it can screen out these ISIS supporters from the rest of the Syrian refugees and since even just a few of these ISIS supporters could cause hundreds of deaths, it is important to the national security of Canada that all Syrian refugees be kept out of our country. The best thing to do with Syrian refugees is take care of them in the camps set up for them, work with NATO allies, China and Russia to destroy ISIS, and then help Syrian refugees rebuild their homes and reclaim their own homeland. With the $1.2 billion proposed for Syrian refugees, we can do a lot of good in Syria. As it is, much of that money will be spent on bringing people here. If we spend that money by helping people in Syria, it will go a long way towards helping these refugees have a better life in their homeland. This massive resettlement is a misguided attempt at helping Syrian refugees. Everyone wants to help. Some of us just realize that this huge wave of immigration is not the way to do it.
How many White American Christians have a positive view of, let’s say, the US government? Quite a high figure I’d say. How many do not want to see the US destroyed or harmed? A dangerously high number. There can be no disputing that the US government has killed more than 20 million people since WW2. In recent examples, like in post 9/11 Iraq, the death toll approaches 70% non-combatants (innocent civilians). How should this guide our immigration policy towards these White American Christians? Clearly it shouldn’t. Nor should some bogus figures from an “Arabic Think Tank”. Please post a link so we can scrutinise the source of your dangerous conclusions.
Your ideas about repatriation and reconstruction have definite merit. In time. But when your neighbour is standing on the street watching her house burn to the ground, you don’t offer DIY advice. “Once the hoses are off, I’ll pop you down to the Home Depot, okay? We’ll pick up some two-by-fours…” She’s standing barefoot in the snow in her pyjamas. You have a guest room…
Also, if you think Russia is on the same side of this, then you need to dig just the tiniest bit deeper. And if they manage to restore “peace”… what makes you think we’ll be able to do any of this rebuilding? Or should we more realistically expect a corrupt totalitarian regime flavoured “peace”? Cause that’s the baseline…
I hope you do seek out some more information which may make you reconsider your point of view. Therealjimlove isn’t giving up on you either…
The United States and Canada are not terrorist organizations and any attempt to try and equate these governments to ISIS is absurd and disingenuous. North American governments have killed civilians as collateral damage in wars, in many cases in wars where the enemy is using innocent people as a human shield.
By contrast, ISIS exports terrorism to other countries and targets innocent people in nightclubs and sporting events. Quite frankly, I find the comparison you have made to be disgusting. I have more respect for our Canadian soldiers than to compare them the hate-filled, sleazy cowards that are ISIS.
Your claim that the Arab Center for Research and Policy Development’s study is “bogus” is completely without merit. You offer absolutely no reason as to why this poll of Syrian refugees should be ignored. This is a poll of Syrian refugees telling an independent think tank what they think of the United States and ISIS. And the results are downright scary. The only reason I can think for anyone to dismiss this data is that they might be driven by an ideological need to push through this misguided Syrian refugee plan.
The comparison with the woman whose house is burning down is a straw man. The Syrian refugees are not in the middle of the combat. They have food, water and shelter in refugee camps where the greatest danger to anyone is other refugees in the same camp. In other words, they are currently their own worst enemies. Unlike the woman in your ridiculous example, these refugees have shelter and food and drink. Should there be any additional needs or security required, I am completely willing to see Canada provide it along with other countries in the refugee camps.
ISIS needs to be destroyed and justice demands that innocent Syrian refugees be allowed to go back to their homes, helped to rebuild, and inherit their homeland instead of giving it away to terrorists.
You claim I need to get more information. I am perfectly willing to look at any hard data you want to provide. So far, I have provided data and you have not. So, in the big scheme of things, I’d say I’m doing my homework.
Perhaps you should do yours.
Having problems coming up with your numbers from reading that report. It’s pretty dense and in fairness it didn’t ask the question that you’ve claimed it answers.
I’m presuming that you took your interpretation that “31 per cent of Syrian refugees do not want to see ISIS destroyed or hurt” from the answer to the question “To what extent do you support or oppose the declared objectives of the anti-ISIL campaign to “degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL”. If fairness, no statistician in the world would accept drawing the conclusion you have. For example, using the same data, I could extrapolate that “31 percent of Syrian refugees don’t believe in war” and it would be ill-informed, not statistically supported, but equally valid given the leap of logic involved. And that’s if we accept that Syrian refugees are a representative sample of the Syrian population. Syrians who are running from ISIL are probably not 31% in support of ISIL. And Syrians who are running from the al-Assad forces may indeed not wish to see ISIL smashed under the flawed, but frequently held belief that the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”
The writers of the report themselves identify the dilemma wherein it’s not just the action but the perception of who is leading it that affects opinion.
This is a clear demonstration of the fact that
the US’ leadership of the coalition against ISIL impacts on public perceptions in the
Arab region: even as the Arab public stands opposed to ISIL, its attitudes towards the
group are fundamentally impacted by the leadership of the coalition that is opposed to
That said, there is some interesting data in this report. Thanks for sharing it with me. I’ll include it in my compendium of information on this. And despite our relative disagreements on some things, we do agree that ending the war in Syria and rebuilding is the only long-term solution to this problem. I hope that occurs.
And I apologize if anyone is drawing conclusions from this post that you are somehow bigoted. I think what we have is a difference in interpretation of the data and that’s valid. You go on in another post to say that there are a “significant number of ISIS supporters among the refugees.” That one I’m not sure I buy, but I don’t know if we’ll convince each other.
But thanks for engaging. And thanks for sending me the report.
Okay, I’m getting tired of these insinuations that I am somehow ignorant or bigoted or need to be educated to that I can be as intelligent as you. So, please stop responding to me. Enough with the allegations of ignorance and stupidity and bigotry.
For your information, I’ve studied statistics and statistical analysis in college. I also spent two decades as a reporter for media outlets reporting about, among other things, the results of polls. I can read a poll just fine.
I have provided you with the link to the report. The questions are there. The answers are there. This is data specifically about the Syrian refugees.
Ignore it if you will. Wish it away if you will. Take potshots at the methodology if you will. Come up with alternative explanations if you will. Believe that kindness and love from Canadians will melt the heart of even a die-hard terrorist if you will.
The facts I have described are there. I have reported them accurately and with understanding of how polls work and with consideration for margins of error and all of that.
What I will not do, however, is continue to be target practice for half-baked accusations of bigotry and insinuations of ignorance and stupidity just because you wish to hold another political view.
I have not insulted you. It would be nice if you were to extend me the same courtesy. Since you have not, this conversation is over and I will consider any and all future responses to be harassment.
beautifully put and brutal but that’s what people need. they need to know what kind of life these people have to live and why they’re trying to leave.
Your letter was very well written. Your point of view is clear. The rage that you feel for the innocent people that were killed in France is clear. And although I feel much the same way as you do about it all, I cannot understand the point of view to let refugees from Seria into my country.
All of the horrible things that you said that happened to those people is true. I don’t doubt it for a second. You seem to be a very intelligent person, so I have to assume that you know that some of the refugees are going to be terrorists sneaking into the country among them.
Personally, I’m not afraid of any one of them. My fear is for the innocent people that will be killed in my country when the evil people get their hands on the materials they need to kill as many American (Or any other country) people as they can.
I am 100% for helping those people trying to leave and make a life for themselves, their children and family members somewhere else in the world, but not at the expense of one single child. We can do plenty for the refugees short of allowing them into our borders, along with the few evil people who are hell bent on destroying us.
The screening process that you mentioned isn’t practical and is insufficient to absolutely guarantee that no terrorist sneaks in with them. I cannot support the idea of letting them into my country, knowing that at some point in the future, one of them will take the lives of innocent people here. I’m sure that your view of this controversy will change one day when you turn on your TV and find that a single terrorist entered an elementary school and killed a classroom full of children. Maybe even in your own neighborhood. Maybe even some of your children, or the children of someone you know. I can’t understand why people like yourself are willing to put others in that position. I believe that WILL happen if refugees from that part of the world are allowed to enter my country, and I would rather die than to see another child taken from their family because the terrorist was given the opportunity to walk right into our borders and carry out their misguided beliefs on an unsuspecting community.
We can help the refugees without giving terrorists an open invitation to enter our country. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself after something happens if I helped them to get here in the first place. Think it won’t happen? Think again.
I think you should look again at the screening process. It’s quite rigorous and when you see how it really works, you might change your mind.
You won’t give up on the innocent victims of war. Just the innocent victims of domestic violence. Just the innocent victims of corporate greed. Well, I guess it’s good to have standards. For the record, I never asked you to give up on anyone. That’s right. Everyone wins. They just don’t all win first. We’ve created this nice little everybody-gets-a-trophy idea in our society…but it isn’t real. Once you actually leave Oz, somebody has to go first. Reality is hard sometimes. The fantasy might be prettier, but that doesn’t make it real.
And you know this about me, how?
I do agree with the compassion attached to embracing refugees. I disagree, however, with the rush on bringing 25,000 people in such a short period of time. Our citizens’ security and health depends on a process that is done properly. That’s where the conflict lies between many. Let’s not accuse others of being cold-hearted and racist, when many are just hoping for prudence and a realistic process and plan.
As I’ve said – timing and security are legitimate questions. No one is accusing anyone of being racist or cold hearted for asking to be prudent.
as far as i’m concerned we have enough of our own problems in our great country that need to be fixed, so lets fix them. if you chose not to help our country, then pack up all your belongings, gather all your money and head out to the refugee camps and help as you see fit. as for bringing more in, to even put more stress on our health system, and all the money going towards getting them here and caring for them for the first little while, that could help out alot of our aging seniors, our broken down veterans, our homeless families and so forth… i would much rather have my tax paying money used for my fellow CANADIANS to get back on their feet and help out our country some more. that’s my feeling about this , you have yours, so don’t sign the petition, it dont matter, there’s many more other Canadians that did and will sign it. so have a nice day!
Thank you. With 170,000 people following this post, I’m having a great day. You as well. And remember – I’m not giving up on you either.
I agree D.J what kind of country are we when we are ignoring are own people who need help! Anyway by the time our Government is done there will be a lot more people in distress needing help well the refugees are given money for food, shelter etc. Doesn’t sound very fair to me! Good write up D.J.
If we really do support the refugees and not address some of our other problems, you will have every right to criticize the government. But why don’t we see what they do before we criticize them? And what exactly is it that our government will do that will give us a lot more people in distress? I don’t think any of the political parties campaigned on a platform that they thought would leave a lot more people in distress.
Thank you for writing this and articulating so well what I cannot. I think giving to others and supporting those in desperate need is a habit and one that we should be cultivating and inspiring in all those around us. Whatever happened to empathy for others, for the Atticus Finch attitude of trying to walk in someone else’s shoes for a while? The world gets smaller and smaller in so many ways every year, and we’d better learn to support one another through whatever is coming.
And yes, that means support for those in our back yard who need it as well.
I Thank you for your email, as I sit out here in Western Canada and try to come to grips with all the information, misinformation, propaganda, comments and emails from many people I still find myself awash in a sea of information. I agree with many of your points, I, like you, am very upset with the destruction that has taken place , not just in Paris but Lebanon, Syria, or name a country for that matter. I have so many doubts right now , about the governments, corporations, individuals and terrorists. How did we ever get to this point? Are we all just being used as pawns? Why would those 2 guys in Boston blow people up who were running and now there mother says the US will burn. What are we expected to think? Many of us out here in the general population have not traveled to numerous countries. We have limited experience to base our decisions on. This obviously creates its own opinion which is good or bad.
I made my living in the last 30 years dealing with many store owners and merchants many who come from all over the world. Some have shared their stories with me some have not. A very good friend of mine who is Muslim once told me there are good and bad Muslims just as we have good and bad Christians, Canadians, Americans, Natives, or pick a race. So it is not just the refugees. That was an enlightening time and Karim took much of his personal time to explain. We shared lunches , laughed at the same jokes, and had many of the same friends at work.
But lets take a moment to put yourself in the shoes of the general unknowing, Innocent, ignorant (not by choice) person, many of them are being bombarded from so many different media sources. Each media source is sending out their propaganda or opinions.
It is over whelming.
I am amazed at all the people who have immigrated to Canada already, how they have held back their comments and opinions in the face of all this adversity. Congratulations to them, I admire their class in this situation.
Personally I worry about the future, I feel that there is going to be much unrest coming as it is already showing its ugly head. Canada will do it’s part and bring in the refugees as they have always done. But i wonder who has taken the time to anticipate what if some fool decides to blow something up. I fear Racism will raise its ugly head to the heights we have never before seen in Canada. I hope not and in God I put my Trust. Hopefully the leaders of our Country have thought this out on a very deep level and come up with the answer to this very difficult situation. To all you and myself I pray for patience and guidance during this tumultuous period. God Bless
Well, so far, 170,000 people (not all from Canada) have read this post. Less than a handful have left negative or xenophobic comments. When the Mosque in Peterborough was fire bombed the collection to fix it was so quick that we couldn’t even get in to donate – that’s how fast people chipped in to fund the repairs. I don’t know, but I suspect that the overwhelming number of people in this great country want to help. Some have legitimate questions – and god bless them for it. Some are in fear – and may the faith of the many take that from them. The rest? Well – as I said, don’t give up on them.
I will be sharing this post for sure,as a retired health care worker my pension is small but my husband and I support our church,local food bank,I sponsor a child,a shelter in Toronto for teenagers,local hospitals and various other charities,I am not doing this because I want a pat on the back no I do this to teach by example to my grandkids that all people matter and that if you have been blessed with the necessities of life you should share to the best of your ability,the refugees need us end of story
The government is not paying for the refugees to come here. Private citizens snd organizations are our tax dollars help our unfortunate. And a broken system isn’t an excuse to let PEOPLE die. Fix the system to help ALL.
Really well-written piece. Something that frustrates me are people who say that we shouldn’t welcome refugees because we need to take care of our own, first. But anyone who I’ve ever met who is actually working towards “helping our own” would never be against also helping people from other places. It’s the people who don’t help our own, who are also against helping refugees. They simply don’t want to help anyone.
Thanks Jim. Well said.
Honestly I’m not angry. All people want to live. I personally do not want the problems of the Middle East imported to Canada. I do not want honour killings, arrange marriages or vocal special interests pressuring the government to accommodate their unique culture and ways. Am I xenophobic? Yes. Am I distressed about this? If I was much younger than I am now, I would be but I’ve grown. I’ve learned that multiculturalism is a lie. That honouring your traditions are important but that they belong in the home. So to the subject of bringing refugees in, I say no. Do I say we abandon them? No. I say we put boots on the ground. I say we give them back their country by running those butchers into the sea and repay blood with blood. Not because I wish to sacrifice my country folk, but because it is what I truly believe is the only viable solution to this. We cannot negotiate, we cannot surrender. Expending resources to take these people from their country of origin to a land divided on how welcome they are is foolish. Not only for the loss or time and resources but for the toll on them. It is a better use of resources to provide them direct aid in their home region while we work alongside their fighting forces to restore order to their broken nation and help to rebuild it. Violence is the first solution to a fool and the last resort to a wise person. True words, but we didn’t pick this fight. It was thrust upon us. Do we abandon those who need us or do we do the one thing that will have best support them? Bearing in mind that reconstruction will provide vital work and training to a population whose nation is broken.
Before anyone questions my willingness to serve in the military, I volunteered in the past and was turned down. That’s my two cents as a non-vocal member in this issue. Non-vocal because I haven’t signed any petitions or called into any radio shows. I will trust in the government, even when I think they are wrong.
I have to say that I admire your honesty. I disagree with you – there’s been a lot of “boots on the ground” in this conflict. We lost close to 180 Canadians in Afghanistan and I don’t know how many more have killed themselves or have returned broken and lost. Yet, I don’t see much in the way of peace in Afghanistan. As near as I remember, didn’t George Bush Junior declare “victory” in Iran. He beat the crap out of the Iraqi army. We changed the regime in Libya, but that is now a failed state. When has violence worked?
To hell with any of these refugees. Until all our homeless have a warm place to sleep and food in their bellies, till our seniors have adequate treatment, till we have NO homeless children, then I say to hell with bringing in more before giving to our own.
I’m not giving up on you either. You have compassion for one group at least.
Pingback: Even so, I am not giving up on you | deni doulos
Jim, this is so eloquently stated and contains such profound truth. Blessings to you for posting.
I have reposted to my blog with credit and link back to your blog: https://deniray.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/even-so-i-am-not-giving-up-on-you/
Wow. You have definitely touched a nerve Jim! I want to thank your or writing this very eloquent piece, for reminding us of the great gift we have to live in peace and prosperity (everything is relative). It is painful to imagine the extreme suffering that is happening at this very moment, every moment. Perhaps some need to experience first hand the fear, the helplessness, the entrapment of war, in order to really get it.
Jim, Thank you for sharing the beautiful heart of you. I agree with your original post and the few responses (that I’ve read) you’ve given to those who disagree or are expressing their POV. Also Kudo’s to the first posting I read from Rachel – totally apropos comments you shared from your friends comments to a response to Jim’s post.
I had a conversation with a 30 year friend last week about the bombings and the decade unfolding humanitarian crisis from all the instability that has rocked country after country in the middle east. We are seeing humanitarian crisis on scales not witnessed before and a person I believed in my core to be more compassionate than most, with a high emotional maturity and intelligence, who had his own story of racist childhood abuse, cruelty, loneliness, beatings by other kids, etc. in the community where he grew up (in Canada) because he was blonde and blue eyed, how awful it was for him, who shocked me with a xenophobic, racist and religiously intolerant rant delivered in strident tones that dripped venom……..It was ugly, harsh, completely devoid of even the remotest shred of compassion for the suffering multitudes who’ve had to flee for their very lives into one hardship after another with who knows how much time in front of them full of uncertainty, fear, being preyed upon when they are most vulnerable, trying to protect children, threat from a multitude of directions and winter now descending on them. I felt like I was listening to a white supremacist instead of someone who’s heart I thought I knew.
Re refugee camps – few are not squalid, and no one wants to live there out of choice. Many refugee camps become semi-permanent settlements of multitudes of displaced persons who are stuck in no-man’s land and cannot go home and cannot go anywhere else. Haiti comes to mind (yes, I’ve been there, recently too). For those of you who don’t know, look into the way aid money has to be spent by the organizations that go to help stabilize somewhere like Haiti – its a good case in point. No one should have to live in a refugee camp for extended periods of time.
Thank you Jim for your historical references of Canada opening its doors in years gone by. I lived in the same neighbourhood where many “boat people” ended up – and am pleased to number several Vietnamese Canadians among my friends from those days.
I would like to remind everyone reading this post that unless you’re aboriginal, we’re all immigrants here, the majority of us having ancestors who left their homelands due to the same forces at play as today, in different permutations, variations, settings and contexts and time frames. Everyone of us who isn’t aboriginal was an “outsider”, an “other” at one time, who were helped and welcomed and given opportunities in their timeline; every damn one of us, pardon my emphasis……… Maybe those who are having an extremely negative reaction to Canada helping in this humanitarian crisis could take a moment and reflect on the ancestral stories from their elder generations who emigrated here…… and remember where you came from.
Or just try imagining yourself as anyone of the those haunting faces, as the parent clutching your half naked, starving, terrified child, facing every day with uncertainty, fear and insecurity for every basic need from water, food, shelter, safety.
I say help them come, we’ll work through the challenges together as we have in the past. Its almost part of our national identity to do so.
I can’t remember how the original saying goes, so I’ll paraphrase here:
Great evil thrives not because of the actions of evil men – great evil becomes possible when good people say and do nothing when it rises in their midst.
I am an immigrant, I am the child of parents who left their respective burned, blasted, war ravaged countries, who lived through these horrors of that conflict as children, my mother 7 years old and my father 8 years old when the Nazi’s rolled in – the Nazi’s murdered plenty of other nationals besides the Jewish peoples. My father was a in a refugee camp for a year before his family were able to go to England, where he met my mother who had left her country with only her sister, and not a word of the English language between the two of them. I was 7 when we emigrated to Canada and I have enjoyed a life here for 51 years, through hardships and times of plenty. I’m an ordinary person, I am in the basic federal tax bracket. I don’t have a lot of money, but my life here is rich in all the ways that matter. I’ve had and still enjoy security, safety and choices, food and shelter, even when times have been toughest. I don’t take the lifestyle here for granted. I feel privileged to call myself a Canadian and to have the choice and privilege of being in the position to help someone who is in crisis for their very lives come here and enjoy the simple luxuries I’ve had abundance in this country.
Where do you come from reader? And how did your opportunity to live in this fantastic country come about?
I am absolutely astounded by the courage and tenacity shown by so many immigrants and refugees alike. So many have come here and made this country richer – both culturally and economically. But to come to a strange country, to not speak the language, to work so hard to get ahead – yours is one of many stories, but I salute your courage. I grew up in a very poor family, with all kinds of barriers in my way, but I think any of these pale in comparison to many people with stories like your own. Congratulations on your courage and your accomplishments. I feel privileged too – in having heard from so many people just like you.
“You will have to live with what you have and haven’t done”cons
Nothing is ever accomplished through making assumptions about what other people think, or using guilt to force people to look at something another way. You are making the assumption that people have signed this petition out of hate, when they may have signed it on the basis of their expectation that the government needs to do a proper job of screening these refugees, and not be in such a hurry to bring so many here, and these expectations are not being met. Just recently in the news, the government was quoted as saying that a passport would be sufficient, so in other words no UNHCR certificate?
People don’t need some bleeding heart telling them what they should be thinking or doing. People need to educate themselves so they can draw their own conclusions.
Totally agree that people need to educate themselves. In that spirit, can you please tell me where you heard about “no UNHCR certficate?” I’d like to track that down. It’s not what I’ve heard and if it’s true, I’d like to know. Let me know. Thanks!
Can I ask how many of these unfortunate people you would take into your own home to help if you feel so compassionately? And why are many of the refugees refusing good food and water, just because it is supplied by the Red Cross and bears a cross on the packaging? I have seen footage of refugees discarding these items onto a railway track, good food and bottles of water which had been donated, being tossed aside as trash, this is how desperate some are. And others complaining that they are living in squalor and not being paid enough to live in another country, that that they would rather go back to their own country and live with the war as they did not like the manner in which they were being kept? I am not saying I do not feel sorry for them, I do, but when we had WW1 and WW11, our men stood up and fought and yes, millions lost their lives, but they were fighting for our freedom and I do feel that some of these ‘young men’ should stay and fight. they have abandoned their mothers/fathers/sons for their own freedom. Is this right? The majority of the refugees we see are 18-30 year old grown men, not women and children or older people. And why can’t Saudia Arabia rehome, or Dubai (one of the richest countries in the world)?? They have similiar lifestyles, language and religion? Surely they could do more to help??
Please share the footage with me. If such footage exists, I’d love to see it. As for the rest, we simply disagree – and I won’t give up on you, either.
With regard to refugees throwing away food, there is footage, but there seems to be no proof as to why the people did this. Snopes.com looked into it and found the claim to be false. They could be wrong. Maybe there is footage of a huge amount of people looking into a camera and explaining exactly why they are refusing food and water, complete with a detailed theological explanation. I think there may have been cases in Hungary where people went on hunger strikes because they didn’t want to go back. I’ m concerned about people throwing up one supposed fact that may or not be true to support their position. But hey, this is clearly Opinion Board not a Fact Board. I believe it is an indisputable fact that the Red Cross has given food and water to many thousands in the region who have not refused it.
Does anyone know if these survey numbers that say that from 13% to 33% are ISIS sympathizer are real? Or what they asked them in the survey?
At any rate, I am readying clothing and blankets and my check book in preparation for the arrival of these families. Like it or not, I seem to be committed to a faith that commands helping the stranger and feeding the hungry and even says to love your enemies. Damn! I’m hooped!
Yes, I know. The questions are included in the report with these results in the link I provided in my earlier post.
Hello Jim, I’m quoting you on our community’s refugee sponsorship committee’s facebook page. “Helping the refugees does not keep us from helping our own children and citizens. Compassion is not a commodity that you spend – it’s a muscle that gets stronger with use.”
I think you have way too much time on your hands..go out for a walk or bake something
I.made it through a paragraph before I got bored to death
I agree with Rod Burns. It only takes one to kill hundreds. Should we take the chance?
I don’t know how to respond to this. I feel I should. But maybe I’ll just post this comment and let it speak for itself.
I agree with you on the thought process behind decisions shouldn’t be taken from the place of fear. That being said when it comes to the screening process, our emotions shouldn’t determine that state in which we proceed to bring these families into our country. There is one thing you may not be considering in this all provinces and territories in Canada are leaving the screening process to the UN to expedite the process with the exception of Quebec which has it’s own process. Therefore extra protection that our officials have deemed unnecessary or that we aren’t worth the extra thought for protection. That includes those refugees who will be allowed in our country will also appreciate the effort to keep us ‘All’ safe. About 7 years ago there were a lot of articles on the fact that Canada was helping to oversee or participate in judgments against war criminals. During the time those articles were posted I was living in Rwanda. I experienced the truth of much of this during the trails against these war criminals. People want to feel safe, secure and protected in general all around the world. We should be able to provide this without giving up standards to our security. We are known for protecting other’s while not compromising standards while maintaining freedoms for all. This has always been what made Canada a desirable place to come past to present. Everyone has a dark place and if not given the safety to express that fear without labeling it fear-mongering or racism or xenophobia they can end up staying in dark place because of shame and then it starts to get scary. So instead of belittling be informative, instead of shaming others for their fear recognize it and help them come to terms with it. We can be apart of making the hamster wheel keep going or helping others to get off and fight the real fight against terrorism.
Quite the viral post Jim. Well written as always!
Thank you for writing this.
Thank you Jim !! for your write up ,and every body else’s and there Comments on this refugee situation ,as serious as it is , most of the comments have been using respect in there debates , except for the last few I’ve read , because lately most of the post’s on this debate and many other debates is name calling and just pure ugly, Like most of us we want to protect what we have ETC , I could be wrong , most of us are bleeding hearts though and want to help , myself I honestly would not stand and see anything suffer man or beast and proved that to myself over sixty years ,I guess my point being I would love to say and the end of the day I did the right thing. Most of you seem to be so much more informed than myself ,on the what ifs , current events , I’m not sure what to believe , your all so sure your opinions are so right , then the next post on our Media shows an event that instills more fear and Crap , and you wonder is this real!! But one thing I do Know We’re all CANADIAN’S And whether our debates and opinions are right or wrong ,this is going to happen , so then are we going to stand together or divided after there here , I’m pretty Damm Sure if I was a refugee with a wife and five kids and just went through all the HELL I went through to keep them safe to get here I would be feeling pretty DAMM Blessed to see a FACE like mine So lighten up everybody ,Im worried to , Lets cross that Bridge when its Time
Reblogged this on Mirrigold.
Finally! Thank you so much for this beautifully written, open-minded message. I am also from Quebec and I would also like to share it in French as well so all my FB contacts can fully understand the meaning of your words of wisdom.
Even the title is perfectly put! Hat’s off to yourself! Congrats to your brain! I like the way you make me feel the pain of what these “lucky” people will most likely to suffer if they are “lucky” enough to make it.
If someone did a French version, please let me know!!!
I would do it myself but I’m not that good at translating! I can’t do it alone but I sure can help! (Google translate? Really?)
To those who are still against the idea… I’m not giving up on you either 😉
Someone did promise a French version but I haven’t seen it yet. And I don’t have the nerve to use Google translate. If there is a volunteer, that would be great.
“If it had been some stranger, I would have just dismissed it as the ravings of some redneck asshole. ” … but this is exactly what you did. There was no effort put into understanding another position … but you want others to understand and come to your position. Here you are preaching to the choir and the echo you hear back sounds good – but you are the same as the person who has dug their heals in on the other side of this issue. You think you are right just a adamantly as they think they are right. If you want to bring people over, you need to address the concerns that they have … not just ridicule, guilt or dismiss them.
Friends come to where friends are … they don’t dismiss them as some redneck asshole … Sorry.
Not sure you read the whole article. But you are entitled to your opinion.
I had a chance to think about this comment. It bugged me – not personally, but when someone gives me comment, I like to think about it. My conclusion is that I’m not exactly sure you are being genuine. As far as I can figure out, there are only two kinds of people that say they have never had an unkind reaction – saints and liars. Apparently, I’m neither, which I freely admit. (And actually I’m not totally sure about saints. Mother Theresa once said that she did good because “there’s a Hitler inside her”. I took that as her admission that she’s had unkind reactions as well. Despite that, I’m not putting myself up as a saint. I know too much about me.)
Very powerful and well said
This is an incredible piece – thank you Jim for putting this out into the world. I hope your words are read by everyone in this country. The one true way to combat the horrors that are taking place right now is with acceptance.
As you so eloquently said, terrorist organizations want the people of Syria to believe “they don’t give a damn about you. Why should you care about them?” Let’s fight them by proving that statement wrong.
I am reminded in these days of the words of Martin Niemoller, whose famous speech “First they came for…” have been re-quoted many ways – but are so relevant today. It is time for compassion to lead the way.
It is so hard to NOT be cynical about politics. The Liberals in so many ways invited the anti refugee backlash by insisting on fast tracking it. That really played into our fears of who we were letting into the country. Perceptions are reality and we perceived this to be done hurriedly for the sake of optics. Now that the Liberals have adopted the Conservatives position they articulated during the campaign to “get it done right rather than done quickly” that will certainly allay at least some peoples concerns. I know it has allayed mine! That is where my cynicism kicks in. When the Conservatives stated their position they were callous, heartless even but now when the Libs mirror it becomes their bright and sensible idea. I have no doubt that in not that many years the refugees will have established themselves as productive Canadians. I do feel badly we are stealing a generation of educated and talented people that will not be present to rebuild their country once this mess settles down. Historically refugees do not return home when it is safe. Understandable but sad we have stolen a generation of the type of people needed to rebuild a country and help it become a modern high functioning state.
In fairness, I don’t think that the Liberals have adopted the Conservative’s policy. The Liberals have only delayed their deadline by 60 days. I don’t recall the full text of the Conservative plan, but if memory serves me they had promised 10,000 refugees. There is more distinction when you compare the platforms. But even that is now history. I think the new interim leader of the Conservatives supports the Liberal position and had said that if the Liberals delayed they would support that.
So even after what happened in Paris, the Liberals are asking for 60 days extra. I don’t know. If you are a dyed in the wool Conservative, then I don’t think the facts will change your mind. That’s not just with Conservatives by the way. People who are very partisan tend to be hard to sway with data. Rationalization is a part of partisan politics. But if you are just a person who is feeling like those “lying politicians never do what they say,” I think you can take comfort. The Liberals aren’t that far off their promise. If they were in the private sector they wouldn’t get fired for this. And if you thought the Conservatives were bad people or lacking in compassion, there are some signs that the new leadership is far less partisan and far more supportive of doing the right thing. Hey – if we can get politics to more about alternatives and less about name calling and attack ads, everyone wins – Conservatives, Liberals, NDPs and Greens!
So well written . absolutely mirror my thoughts. Thank you.
It occurs to me that our government has brought over at least 20,000 refugees from Iraq since 2009, many of whom have come after 2013 when ISIS came to prominence. Did they take people from an area where there were no ISIS or al Qaeda sympathizers? How did they do that? Did they have a methodology to identify such people? If so, let’s use it now. If not, did they put us all in danger? It’s 2015, and I see no evidence that they did.
Also, it’s unfortunate that all the people who have brought up the concern about caring for “our own” (now, but what about 2009?) didn’t do so during the election. Homelessness and other such issues would have been the #1 issue during the campaign and maybe some real solutions would have been offered.
Jim When I first read your post several days ago, 1 thing jumped out immediately, and followed on the heels of your expressing the “red neck” reaction you had. This is what stood out – “Yup. That’s how unkind I would have been.
Which doesn’t say good things about me.”
Ah, self-examination, taking ownership of your initial reaction and examining candidly what it said about you. Self-examination and honest ownership of ones own “shadow” side, and recognizing the value in the life lesson it offers you.
Thoughtful and considered response. Articulate, passionate, expressive, and coherent. You are open and ask for source material so that you can understand the issues more fully, asking for sources to check out what you may not have been aware of, refuting rumour and unsubstantiated information, yet willing to consider the validity of said info. Avoiding tangents and red herrings. Taking the time to follow up and research the wide range of relevant and developing issues that are part of this multi-faceted, emotionally charged subject. A steadfast refusal to credit isolated behaviours and sensationalist “sound bite” reporting as being indicative of the whole, or an accurate barometer by which to gauge the whole. Checking for credibility and bias of source material. Willing to consider you may have misunderstood or been misinformed. Continual flexibility and willingness to explore a negative response as being as valid as your own opinion. Treating responders with respect, dignity, empathy and compassion for their POV which may have been diametrically opposed to yours, even if the response was unpleasant.
You appear to have your ego in check and alert to its interference, while demonstrating the calm confidence that comes with legitimate credentials, experience and personal credibility.
I’ve learned a lot from all of you and I consider the time I’ve invested coming back several times over the last 3 days to read more responses and reread others as being well worth the expenditure. I’ve found this an enriching and provocative experience. My sincere thanks to all of you who posted and shared yourselves.
I’ll be back Jim. This is my first foray into social media and I will be back to dip into the archives and see what next engages you.
Thanks. Social media can be a bit bruising, but that’s because we let it. I’ve only had to censor three of the posts, but I did that reluctantly. But overall, even where we had some conflict, I think we did have a discussion and some of us could see other points of view, even if we didn’t agree. Thank you for coming back to this. I know I learned a lot from this, albeit accidental exercise. I’ve written a lot over the years, nothing that exploded at this level.
We need to be providing these people with all types of contraceptions. One child family policies are also necessary. This wil only help to stem the flow of migrants needing to flee the corruption in there countries in the future. Bringing refugees to Canada is not necessary, we should be forcing other countries in the Middle East to take these suffering people in. This is not Canada’s issue or the countries in Europe. We the tax payer should NOT be responsible for covering their medical costs, food and lodgings. Time for Canadians to stand up and fight the Liberals in this idiotic election promise.
Uh…. not sure about the birth control thing. As for forcing the countries in the Middle East to take them, some of these countries are part of the problem. And the ones that are supporting are stretched way beyond what they can afford. I don’t know how many refugees Lebanon has taken, but for the size of the country it’s astonishing. As for fighting the Liberals – who would you support? Every part said they would take in refugees – the only question I saw was how many and how fast.
The number of boat people leaving Vietnam and arriving safely in another country totalled almost 800,000 . No terrorists. So don’t try comparisons that mislead.As many as 130 Canadians are known to have gone overseas to fight with extremist groups.
Wouldn’t dream of trying to mislead. But if you were around at the time of the boat people (as I was) you would know that there were great worries about infiltrators within the boat people – which never happened. As far as the 130 Canadians, I don’t have a precise count but of the stories I’ve heard, these are not refugees. In one case, the parents of one of these children tried to steal their passports to keep them in the country – this was a group of 19 year olds. Another was a convert to Islam – a Canadian who was radicalize. I think we should be seriously concerned about why Canadian kids are being radicalized here often despite heroic efforts from Islamic Canadians to prevent it.
You think because you won’t sign a petition you are a better person or the person creating the petition or signing the petition is less. There is not one damn thing about the horrible deaths you explained that does not crush most every human being. With the exception of the nut jobs we are trying to keep out of our country. You shared those gory details, but you left out anything about the mutilation of young 8 year old vaginas, death by drowning in a cage, rape, stoning, severed heads of adults, kids, should I go on? The petitions will keep the refugees is ony a temporary one. It would take a blind man not to see that hoards and hoards are young fighting males coming in right now. It is mind boggling the ignorance involved in allowing an open boarder. Hell lets just place these ISIS and ISIL jack wads across the entire earth. So my dear arrogant high and mighty ass hole, we do care where just not stupid and brain washed. You must contain a disease…AT ALL COST….for the safety many, sometimes a few die. Currently the investigations are too numerous and now attacks are too numerous. Not one person has said no refugees for ever…..people have a legitimate concern for our HORRIBLE leadership, to the point we cannot rule out we have traitors running our country. Damn it, why can’t bleeding hearts speak with their damn actions and not their ignorant mouths. Oh that’s right talking is easier. Second….you can help in Paris….realize and support their attempt to annihilate this parasite from the face of the planet. It needs to be contained in as small of an area as possible, to eliminate collateral damage and casualties. We are going to have collateral deaths, some of them will be refugees. Have you seen the middle east…..the damn place is a pile of rubble. Areas of the of the WEST are soon to mirror the EAST if we do not stop them from coming in. SHUT the DAMN boarders, and squash this enemy that is not going to stop till we are all Muslim, or dead. That is their creed. Had we just done this 18 months ago, this discussion would not be happening. So please save your bleeding heart bullshit cause you are not better than anyone else. I pray we all stop arguing and working together. However I for one will TEMPORARILY shut boarders, and have legal immigration only.
No comment. This post speaks for itself. It’s number five of its type. And I’ll only put one sentence in reply.
I’m not giving up on you, either.
All the best.
So…uh…if you’re going to post xenophobic and potentially racist posts, I would recommend that you be as diligent as possible about spelling and grammar. Otherwise people might just think you’re stupid. And no one wants that.
Sorry. I’m being a dick I know. A poor attempt at humour.
But seriously, you talk about working together? Would you line up to work with someone who posted a similarly expressed sentiment that didn’t agree with you?
May this spark your interest
I don’t know who you think these people are, because outside of the fact that they speak a different language, many of them are pretty much like you and me. Or they were before the war.
Get a grip and don’t peddle rubbish. They have a different religion, hello, yes Islam. So don’t say they are pretty much the same. The religion brings with it female genital mutilation, honour killings, mistreatment of women, belief in Islamic law overriding the law of the country they are entering.
I think we dealt with this one, Steve.
You need to read about drowning and educate yourself . It is rapid & painless You are such a drama queen. You say ” pitiful few possessions they can carry.” you mean smart phones and the thousands have dollars they have given the smugglers.You talk about other groups of refugees. You peddle lies about starvation and suffering in refugee camps without any evidence. You make silly comparisons with the Vietnamese boat people, where these people part of global Jihad, did any of these people bring terrorism to anywhere in the world. Again such a misleading comparison. You say the refugees are virtually they same as us apart from language. You deliberately miss out one word throughout your blog that word is Islam. Islam makes these refugees distinct , Islam bring with it vast cultural and ideological differences, open your eyes it brings , female genital mutilation, honour killings, mistreatment of women, a belief that Islamic law is the law they should follow and not the law of the country entered.
Hold on just a second. First of all, if you’ve ever nearly drowned (and I suspect you haven’t – I have) it may be peaceful once you give up, but until then, I can tell you first hand it’s terrifying. Second of all, if you have children (I suspect you don’t) you would know that the most terrifying death for a parent would be knowing that your children were dying and you couldn’t help them. Don’t beleive me? Take a poll.
As for female genital mutilation, honour killings, mistreatment of women – now who is the drama queen? You have no proof that any of these refugees have anything to do with any of these awful things. Were the officers in Quebec who abused those aboriginal women Muslims? Are the people who have murdered so many aboriginal women in Canada Muslims? People do horrible things – regardless of religion or even where they come from? No. They are most often white Canadians. Would you recommend that the rest of the world not let us in their country because we have murderers and rapists among us? No. Neither should we refuse to help refugees for the same specious reasons.
I urge you to actually go and meet a Muslim. Talk to them. Find out that they are not all genital mutilating, honour killing misogynists. They are humans.
When I read your last point I realized that you might have a good heart but you just don’t understand what is really going on here. Here is your statement copied directly from your article.
Here’s my last point. If I do sign and turn my back on these innocent people, knowingly let them suffer, then what have we become? Haven’t the terrorists already won? Haven’t we become just like they want us to be?
No they haven’t won and we haven’t become just like they want us to be because what they want us to be is dead. But first they want is to be naive, passive and tolerant towards them then that will make it easier for them to accomplish their ultimate goal for us.
Here is another statement that shows you don’t have a clue.
And before you say it. Yes. Some terrorists might get in.
We’ll deal with that. These guys aren’t stupid. They’ll get in to our country anyway.
So you are saying terrorists are going to get here anyway so let’s just pay there way over here, give them room and board, then when they kill a couple hundred people we will know who they are and we can deal with them. Yeah that’s a good idea.
I get so tired of people who slam western civilization, but where is the first place they run when the shit hits the fan? People need to learn to fight for their freedom like we had too and still have to from time to time. If they don’t want to fight then accept the consequences for their passiveness.
Your holier than thou attitude in this article is especially annoying because all you are saying here is that you want to dump the problem on society so you don’t actually have to do anything and you can look righteous by making a statement.
One more thing because I will probably get called a redneck or racist here, people forget that Islam is a Totalitarian Ideology. Not a Religion. And, Muslims are not a race! Like I said at first you might have a good heart but just don’t have a clue.
Here’s my last point. I read about a man who’s wife was one of the fatally wounded in the Paris terrorists attacks, she was sitting at a restaurant with friends. He had a message for the terrorists in a news clip, “I will not hate you.” I thought of my wife, because she goes to breakfast once a week with some of her friends. If that happened to her, and if whoever did it was someone who came here with refugees, I would not only hate them but I would hate you too because of this article. I will just say this here, my number one priority is to protect my family. You might call that selfish, that’s your opinion, and I thank God that at least at this point in time you are free to give your opinion.
Have a look at this real footage of what’s going on in Europe:
It’s cultural suicide.
This is for all you bleeding hearts.
Is that what you want happening here? Because it will eventually.
Ya, you won’t find that in your local newspaper.
Go on YouTube. Plenty of real footage from people who live there, not wishy washy lies from the media.
I have family in Europe and the situation is dire.
Just a thought. Need to read about our own Canadians.
I’ve said it a lot. Compassion isn’t a commodity that is limited. It’s a muscle that gets stronger with use. I hope that the exercise we’ve had on the refugee crisis will attune us to the needs of those close to home as well.
Here’s another link to a program in Alberta which is part of a program to eliminate homelessness.
We can only hope that we will also remember these people who need so much help.
The argument about the speed of bringing these people over here baffles me in one way. This thing has been going on for 4 years. Trudeau (and the other political parties) try to set a hard deadline and get this moving and so many people freak out. “It’s too fast!”
I’m not convinced that there will be terrorists among them. Have we had any from Iraq? They will be immersed in community supports, so any weird behaviour(not related to PTSD) will be obvious.
Do we need a law that prohibits all people from leaving Western countries, because they might go somewhere and be radicalized? This has actually happened. No more trips to Paris. How about no one should be allowed to use the Internet. Unless it’s 100% guaranteed that someone won’t be radicalized.
The best part of this story is that in Toronto, they have so many clothing donations for the refugees that they have run out of room to store it all. Looks like the 50% or so of Canadians who agree with bringing in the refugees have stepped up big time. That’s what I want to focus on. Oh, and the Homeless Strategies for the cities that have them. We’re all on board with that, right?
Guess I’.m a “redneck asshole”. You liberals have given away the fortune and future of this country and now you welcome more free loaders, criminals and terrorists. Why not post your address where to send the bills to cover the costs of welfare, medical care, prison incarceration, education costs, etc, etc and you call others “assholes”,
Actually, if you read what I wrote, I don’t think you can say that I called you a redneck asshole. Interesting that you use “liberal” as a perjorative. Some of us are proud of being “liberal” in the sense of looking at all sides of an issue. Since I have to pay my share of all of the above costs for “rednecks” why shouldn’t you pick up your share for “non-rednecks”. It’s only fair and statistically (and I could prove this) the costs of prison for refugees is infinitesimal compared to the number of “rednecks” in prison.
As for the fortune and future of this country – you do realize that our GNP has gone up and the overall wealth of the country has gone up with every wave of immigration – including the one your family came in on. Cause unless your aboriginal – we are all immigrants.
Jim..you do make so good points..and you like to think that your ideal is it…you pretend to exsept oposit criticism .well maybe to don’t pretend..but it’s part of the university type…yes i’am a old uneducated man by your standards…but if i’am not suppose to listen to my heart and egnore that I have fear..just get giving mussels… As people I want to help them ..but I know there culture that is to hate us westerners…it’s deep in them and i’am not sure if its out of them even from all the suffering they have been through..it’s my fear..and sorry but i’am not going to egnore it…this is different than other emigrants ,like my parents that came to this country….I don’t have much..no home not much money..and I have. Helped lots of people..but I simply don’t feel good about this..so call me a red neck..
Whoa – “an old uneducated man by my standards?” Where did you get that? I think you are very clever. You’ve made what logicians would call a “straw man” – you built an artificial me and then destroyed it. As someone who put himself through university at night with two kids and a full time job, I relished the opportunity to get an education, but I’ve never looked down on anyone who wasn’t a “university type” although I’m not sure what that is.
But let’s dig a little deeper. I understand your fear. But fear of what? You know “their culture is to hate us westerners.” How do you know that? Have you met any of these refugees? I doubt it. So how did you find out that “they” hate us westerners? But maybe you saw some news clip or heard something. But there is no “they”.
If one the refugees read what some people have written they could say that “all westerners hate them” – because some of it is pretty messed up, hateful and awful.
Why are they different than other immigrants? Do you not know that each wave of immigrants has been feared in some way or disdained by others? Ukranians, Finns, Irish, Poles, Hungarians, Pakistanis – each wave of immigrants has created a fear – a fear of change in many cases. Why are these immigrants different than at any other time in our history?
And I’m not going to call you a red neck – read my full piece. I went to that brink and said, no – that’s too easy. I’m going to try to reach people because I know that most are basically good. Only you can decide whether you are a redneck – and if you’ve chosen that mantle to wear I feel sorry for you, but I won’t judge you. But I will not be a prisoner of your fear. and to quote you, “if I’m not going to listen to my heart” as well, then I’ll be less of a person. I will listen to my heart. And I’d urge you to really do the same.
Don’t let others control you or manipulate you. Don’t be a prisoner of fear. Listen to your heart.
And I’m not giving up on you. Something tells me that there’s nobility inside you. Just listen to it.