John Barlow: Syrian Refugee Crisis - Gateway Gazette

John Barlow: Syrian Refugee Crisis

By Gateway Gazette

Nov 17

 

As Canadians, we expect our Government to step up in difficult times to help those who are most vulnerable, those who are most in need and those who are in danger – at home and abroad.

Over the past several days, many Foothills residents have called the riding offices, sent in emails or stopped me on the street to ask: “In the wake of what occurred in Paris are we still going ahead with bringing in 25,000 refugees by the end of the year? Are we still pulling our CF-18 fighters out of Syria?”

Our new Prime Minister, Mr. Trudeau, has confirmed he is moving ahead with his plan to bring in 25,000 refugees by Dec. 31, 2015 and withdraw our CF-18s from the coalition’s military action against ISIS despite the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut.

There is no question Canada needs to play a humanitarian role in this refugee crisis and I do not think any Canadian would argue that fact.

However, I strongly believe Mr. Trudeau must delay his proposal to expedite the resettlement of 25,000 refugees in Canada and reassess his decision to pull Canadian CF-18 fighters out of Syria.

This is not a partisan issue; rather I believe an issue of this magnitude must be discussed openly and frankly among elected Members of Parliament from across Canada. Each and every one of us was elected to voice the concerns of our constituents. Residents in Foothills are extremely concerned about the decisions being made regarding refugees and our military without debate within the House of Commons.

No one is saying Canada should do nothing to help the women, children and families fleeing the bloodshed in Syria and Iraq as a result of the Islamic State (ISIS). However, Canadians are asking action be taken in a measured and calculated way to ensure we are helping the most vulnerable and to ensure a robust framework is in place to accommodate the refugees who do come to Canada.

Parliament sits in the first week of December and it would be prudent of the Prime Minister to delay a decision on the refugees until it can be discussed within the House of Commons. Sober second thought and debate will ensure we approach this mission with appropriate and sound action. It will assure Canadians their serious concerns were part of the decision process.

As Parliamentarians, I believe we agree Canadians want to – and should – shoulder some of the load with our allies around the world when it comes to providing a safe haven for refugees and playing an integral role in the military action against ISIS.

However, the proposal put forward by the current government is reckless as we are not sufficiently prepared to handle the number of refugees in the Government’s arbitrary timeline.

There are important questions which must be answered before we proceed.

Canadians are concerned our Prime Minister has not fully taken into account the wellbeing of the refugees once they arrive in Canada.

How will the refugees be chosen? Who are they? How will they be screened? Where will we house them once they arrive in Canada?

As of now, neither the Prime Minister nor his Minister of Immigration, have been upfront with a plan to process or screen the refugees. We must ensure we have a process in place to ensure potential refugees are not a threat to Canadians. The vast majority of Syrian refugees are not a threat to Canada, and we understand that, but our priority must be the safety and security of our communities.

Once a security plan is established the next step is ensuring sufficient, qualified staff is prepared to carry out that process in a manner which addresses any potential security issues.

A structured security framework is not yet in place and I would argue it simply cannot be put in place within the next 45 days. Therefore, we should not proceed until a robust procedure to screen refugees is defined.

Thousands of refugees will be arriving in Canada in the cold of January without a place to live, without most of the essentials and with little understanding of their new community.

It is imperative, if we want the new Canadians to feel welcome and safe, the infrastructure is in place to house them, clothe them, feed them and take care of the sick.

Canada was built by immigrants and our doors have always been open. And they will remain open.

However, times have changed. The carnage known as Islamic State knows no borders and I would argue it is the most significant threat facing our world perhaps in a generation.

For the safety and security of all Canadians we must do our due diligence before moving forward. I am asking the Prime Minister to have a transparent discussion in Parliament so we can re-evaluate withdrawing our CF-18s from the military coalition in Syria and develop a prudent plan to resettle refugees.

John Barlow
MP Foothills
Depute Foothills

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(3) comments

greta walton November 19, 2015

I feel the bringing of refugees from Syria should not happen until everything has been put in place to screen everyone of them to be sure they are not posing a threat to this country both in security and financial.

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Theresa wess November 20, 2015

People have been coming to Canada forever every year many have come of all nationalities , some prosper some don’t some killed and some are killers but that’s the ways it’s always been!!! U don’t know how things will turn out but because of horrible war of terrorists we feel more threaten now !! Remember how hitler killed many nationalities and he was German so does that mean we say no to Germans???? Every country has a war and we take in people to save them !! So now another war and people are being displaced. They are not terrorists !! The terrorists are showing up in all the countries and causing death to innocent people and they killed their own in those massacres!! So the solution is to keep going after them and win the war against them!! Don’t stop go go until it’s done!!! And take time in letting in the new and help them more in their country somehow give them money for food and homes in a country next to theirs and one day they can go back! They will not like it here!!

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Lois Spears November 20, 2015

It is my understanding that the refugees are comming from camps in countries who are just as afraid of ISSIL as we are. They have been vetted. In my experience opposition can debate till the cows come home. The situation in refugee camps is urgent and if you dont believe this you are invited to spend 2 weeks in their shoes with your family. While I worry about settlement here it wont happen with any urgency untill they are here. This is apparrent by all the foot dragging I see and hear.

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