Graphic images from a beach in Turkey last week of children who drowned as their family fled war in Syria have brought the plight of refugees from that middle eastern country to light for Canadians. And that is a good thing: European countries are ill equipped to handle the estimated four million refugees that have already fled Syria, never mind stem the flood that continues to assail its borders.
What is not a good thing is the way Canada’s major political party leaders have used those deaths as pawns in their election campaigns.
Each party has pledged to bring more refugees into the country “if elected”, in a sickening game of political one-upmanship. We find this practice disgraceful.
Humanity—not politics—should guide Canada’s decision to get involved in this crisis.
Private refugee sponsorship is a strategy we can agree on: in fact, Canada did something similar back in 1979 when, according to the Toronto Star, 7,000 Canadian groups sponsored 29,269 refugees fleeing the Vietnam War.
There is no reason we cannot do the same thing to help Syrian refugees.
Canadian families wishing to sponsor Syrian relatives living in refugee camps should be able to do so. Churches or other community groups should be allowed to sponsor other refugee families—whatever they feel their community can absorb.
In order to do so, the federal government needs to loosen the red tape noose when it comes to foreign aid.
We agree Canada must be involved in helping ease the refugee crisis. But not for the purpose of scoring political points.
—Alberni Valley News