Editorial: Refugee crisis requires action

Fear of terror is understandable, but rejection of refugees is an unreasonable reaction and a non-sequitur.

Islamophobia is disappointing, but we cannot allow it to keep refugees from making a new home in Canada.

A world that was already leery about immigration became more defensive about borders after this month’s terror attacks in Paris. It’s led, too often, to outright racism, for example in unpublishable letters to the editor sent to newspapers like the News Bulletin. Fear of terror is understandable, but rejection of refugees is an unreasonable reaction and a non-sequitur.

Canada’s new federal government is expected to announce a strategy on the refugee file today (Nov. 24) as it works toward its campaign promise of bringing 25,000 Syrians here.

Many are saying that figure is an unrealistic ideal and are suggesting that the government revise its timeline to allow for further discussion surrounding planning, screening, logistics and social programs. Of course, those are all crucial discussions that will impact both the short-term and long-range outcomes of mass immigration.

That said, the Syrian refugee situation is being called a ‘crisis’ for a reason, and crises don’t always allow for the same measured response Canadians might otherwise expect.

We know that refugees will require a great deal of our scarce – relatively scarce, that is – social assistance resources. But we hate the sentiment that refugees will be taking from Canadians. Because isn’t the notion that people can come here and be Canadians the very best reason to help in this crisis?

We don’t know if 25,000 is the right number or a realistic number. It’s a number that’s going to bring about some difficulties and challenges, and most importantly, some success stories. Let’s try to help 25,000 refugees until we can’t, or until we miss our deadline, and then let’s keep trying after that.

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