'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

  • French writer 'regrets' his underage sex tourism in Asia

    World News CTV News
    PARIS, FRANCE -- French writer Gabriel Matzneff said in an interview Wednesday that he "regrets" his trips to Asia to have sex with children, claiming that at the time "no one ever said it was a crime. Source
  • 536 fishermen stranded on giant ice floe rescued in Russia

    World News CTV News
    MOSCOW -- Russia's emergency services rescued 536 ice fishermen after they got stranded on a giant ice floe that broke off the island of Sakhalin in eastern Siberia, officials said. Around 60 more people were able to get back on the shore on their own Tuesday evening, emergency officials said. Source
  • Jet lands in U.S. with Americans from China outbreak zone

    World News CTV News
    ANCHORAGE, ALASKA -- An airplane evacuating as many as 240 Americans from a Chinese city at the centre of a virus outbreak has landed in the U.S. The U.S. government chartered the plane to fly out diplomats from the U.S. Source
  • Death toll from New Zealand volcanic eruption rises to 21

    World News CTV News
    WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND -- Another person who suffered critical injuries from an eruption of a New Zealand volcano last month has died, bringing the death toll to 21, police said Wednesday. Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said the person died Tuesday night at Auckland's Middlemore Hospital. Source
  • 8 impeachment arguments senators will be weighing as Trump trial enters question phase

    World News CBC News
    The impeachment trial of U.S. President Donald Trump is moving into its next phase Wednesday, with senators preparing to question the prosecution and defence. They're also contemplating whether they want to call additional witnesses before they make a final determination on whether or not to remove Trump from office. Source
  • #MeToo movement has been a 'net positive' in Canadian workplaces

    Canada News CBC News
    High-profile sexual harassment cases have spurred Canadian employers to do more to prevent abuse in workplaces, but there's still a long way to go, experts say. When dozens of women came forward starting in late 2017 to accuse former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, it gave rise to the #MeToo movement and prompted workplaces in and out of Hollywood to examine their record on the issue. Source
  • Anniversary of Quebec City mosque shooting a chance to have a tough talk about hate, organizers say

    Canada News CBC News
    It will be a smaller, simpler ceremony this year in Quebec City to mark the 2017 mosque shooting that left six people dead and dozens suffering from injuries both physical and psychological. A citizens group, Commémoration citoyenne de l'attentat du 29 janvier 2017, will hold a community supper later today — the third anniversary of the shooting — at a Catholic church down the street from where the attack took place. Source
  • It's a new year, Mr. Trudeau. What do you want to do with it?

    Canada News CBC News
    If there's anything to be said about the Liberal minority government so far, it's this: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his inner circle don't seem to be in a hurry to do much of anything. That might sound harsh, given that Parliament just resumed for the first time since before the Christmas break. Source
  • Number of restricted firearms increased in first three years of Trudeau government

    Canada News CBC News
    The number of restricted firearms registered in Canada rose nearly 24 per cent in the first three years of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government. The number of registered firearms that are restricted or prohibited stood at 1.16 million at the end of 2018, according to the Commissioner of Firearms report for 2018. Source
  • Bus, auto-rickshaw collision in west India kills at least 27

    World News CTV News
    NEW DELHI -- A speeding bus and auto-rickshaw collided in western India, killing at least 27 people and injuring dozens more, police said Wednesday. Both vehicles fell into a roadside well after the crash late Tuesday in Maharashtra state. Source