Editorial – Refugees

Editorial from the Dec. 3 edition, discussing the Syrian refugees and what Canada is doing to help.

Since mid-August, I don’t think I have gone a day without reading a headline regarding the millions of refugees fleeing Syria. Just today, I read an article from The Guardian entitled “The plight of the refugees is the crisis of our times.” It was the first headline I read in the morning.

It’s depressing news, probably best depicted by photos. More people felt empathy after the photo of a Syrian toddler’s lifeless body went viral than they would through the mountain of articles examining the different facets of the issue.

The problem was compounded and worsened by the Paris attacks. Authorities found a Syrian passport on one of the suicide bombers outside of the Stade de France, stimulating theories that the attacker entered Europe amongst the other refugees. Authorities have not verified the passport, and are not sure if it is legitimate or was strategically placed there to cause confusion.

This has caused many to rethink supporting the refugees, who are fleeing the same terrorists that we are trying to fight against. Many are citing concerns about national security as a reason to impose more stringent screening methods or to refuse refugees all together. Currently, there are 31 states in the USA saying that they will not accept refugees, which is unconstitutional, and would be hard to monitor. There are no border crossings between states, allowing for anyone – refugees included – to move freely between states. And republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush wants to impose a test that would only allow Christian refugees into the United States.

Canada and the US both already have heavy screening processes for refugees. The Fernie Friends for Refugees started the sponsorship process for their first family over three years ago, and they haven’t even stepped foot in Canada, let alone Fernie yet. And many experts have debunked the theory that terrorists will find passage to North America by masking as refugees.

Amongst all of the negative news, Canada has been applauded for its continuing effort to support refugees. Esquire political writer Charles Pierce penned an article praising Trudeau for following through on his campaign promise to bring over 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015. Calgary made international news last week when refugees landed at their airport and were greeted by cheering locals, offering hugs, toys and words of support to the refugees. However, the government of Canada isn’t accepting any single men at this time, opting to resettle women and children instead.

This is an issue of huge proportions and ramifications. Any action taken is going to have a huge impact on the issue, even if that is no action at all. I definitely don’t understand all of the nuances, and am not claiming to, but I think in this situation, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I’d like to think they would do the same for us.