'Beyond the Syrian refugees': Canadians urged to help others too

As Canada opens its doors to thousands of Syrian refugees, advocates are asking Canadians to also consider welcoming those fleeing other conflicts and persecution.

See Full Article

Immigration Minister John McCallum said Sunday that Canada could accept as many as 50,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016, potentially doubling the government's previous commitment to take in 25,000 by the end of February.

And as Canadians rally to help that effort, Canadian Council of Refugees Executive Director Janet Dench says her organization hopes they will also think about helping refugees fleeing from other war-torn countries, too.

"We're hoping that people who are now responding to Syrian refugees … might also take a moment to think about refugees from other regions of the world," Dench told CTV's Canada AM on Monday.

While Dench applauded the Liberal government's actions to fast-track Syrian refugee applications, she said refugees from places such as Afghanistan, the Congo, the Sudan, or Eritrea face obstacles in trying to come to Canada.

"It is a concern for people from other parts of the world, wondering if they've been a little bit forgotten in all of the rush to help Syrian refugees," she said.

According to Dench, refugees from places outside of Syria still face lengthy processing times.

"It is very routine for people to wait five years," she said. "And of course during that time people die, people get sick, children go without education … it's really unacceptable."

And if refugees from places other than Syria are accepted, Dench said, they'll also face extra barriers in Canada.

The previous Conservative government slashed healthcare coverage for refugees, cutting back on access to prescription drugs, dental care, vision care, and mental health care for some newcomers.

The Liberals have since pledged to provide those services for the Syrian refugees it has brought in since coming to power.

But refugees from other countries won't be guaranteed the same support, Dench said.

"At the moment it means that two refugees that arrive on the same day … if they arrive as a Congolese refugee then they don't have the same healthcare as a Syrian refugee," she said.

While Dench praised efforts by the government and ordinary Canadians to help Syrians reach safety, she said she hoped a renewed interest in refugee issues would spur further action.

"We're hoping that more and more Canadians will look beyond the Syrian refugees," she said.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Roadside bombing targets Taliban, kills Afghan civilians

    World News CTV News
    KABUL, AFGHANISTAN -- A roadside bombing targeting a Taliban vehicle in eastern Afghanistan killed at least two civilians Saturday, including a child, Taliban and health officials said. Four others were wounded. Two bombs detonated as a Taliban vehicle was passing by, killing one child, district police chief Ismatullah Mubariz said, adding that no Taliban fighters were harmed. Source
  • White House further postpones disclosure of JFK assassination documents, citing COVID-19

    World News CTV News
    The White House announced late Friday that it would further postpone the release of more documents related to the 1963 assassination of former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, pointing to the "significant impact" of the COVID-19 pandemic. Source
  • Frenchman tied to far-right abduction charged with terrorism

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- A former politician who called for the overthrow of the French government has been charged with terrorism in connection with what authorities have said was an extreme-right plot to attack vaccination centers, a masonic lodge and other targets. Source
  • Deal on Biden's US$2T plan edges closer; Harris is 'confident'

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- A deal within reach, U.S. President Joe Biden and Congress' top Democrats edged close to sealing their giant domestic legislation, though the informal deadline appeared to slip as they worked to scale back the measure and determine how to pay for it. Source
  • North Korea slams U.S. for supporting Taiwan in nod to ally China

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA -- North Korea on Saturday accused the Biden administration of raising military tensions with China through its "reckless" backing of Taiwan, and said that the growing U.S. military presence in the region constitutes a potential threat to the North. Source
  • Ukraine sees new record high in virus deaths, infections

    World News CTV News
    KYIV, UKRAINE -- Ukraine's coronavirus infections and deaths reached all-time highs for a second straight day Friday, in a growing challenge for the country with one of Europe's lowest shares of vaccinated people. Ukrainian health authorities reported 23,785 new confirmed infections and 614 deaths in the past 24 hours. Source
  • Jury gets chance to hear Elizabeth Holmes' bold promises

    World News CTV News
    SAN JOSE, CALIF. -- A jury weighing the fate of fallen Silicon Valley star Elizabeth Holmes got its first chance Friday to listen to recordings of her boasting to investors about purported breakthroughs in a blood-testing technology. Source
  • Winnipeg makeup artist creates 31 days of spooky Halloween looks

    Canada News CBC News
    What do you get when you combine the grim smile of Pennywise — the evil sewer-dwelling clown from It — with the madness of Beetlejuice, the mischievous, green-haired ghost in a black-and-white striped suit? One terrifying makeup mash-up — and exactly the kind of spooky look Winnipeg makeup artist Maddy Harms has set out to create every day this month. Source
  • Saudi Arabia announces goal of net-zero emissions by 2060

    World News CBC News
    One of the world's largest oil producers, Saudi Arabia, announced Saturday it aims to reach "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions by 2060, joining more than 100 countries in a global effort to try and curb man-made climate change. Source
  • Toronto man celebrates 100th birthday by doing what he says keeps him young: dancing

    Canada News CBC News
    It's a Wednesday afternoon, but inside an unassuming Etobicoke dance hall, it feels like Saturday night. While the dance floor is full — physically distanced, with dancers wearing masks — all eyes are on Harry Mitchell. It's his 100th birthday and this is how he wanted to celebrate: surrounded by family and friends, gliding on the dance floor. Source