Canadians are well known for their political correctness and being all inclusive when it comes to cultural identity. We know just as much about our own country as we do about the U.S and countries across seas. We will always have our hockey culture, poutine, French as a second language and beaver tails, but if you visit any major city in Canada such as Toronto, Ottawa, Edmonton, Montreal or Vancouver, you will notice we have a lovely variety of races, religions and cultures. We have more than one Little Italy, China Town, Jewish neighborhood or a part of a city with a large number of Croatians, Asians, Russians or et cetera. We are a multi-cultural country, and I believe a large part of Canada’s identity is being diverse, we allow other cultures to be maintained and celebrated. Many of today’s existing cultures who have contributed to the success of our country may have a history of starting off as parents or grandparents who were a refugee. We must remember this!
Most Ashkenazi Jews I know are here because a grandparent escaped the holocaust and eventually landed at our Canadian borders. Sadly, most Ashkenazi Jews I know personally can tell me about all the family members and friends their grandparents lost to concentration camps during the 2nd World War. We must remember this horrific time when 6,000,000 Jews were slaughtered merely for being Jewish. We should also remember the guilt and shame we feel now for the 907 Jews aboard the St. Louis ocean liner who were denied entrance to Canada through our Halifax port in 1939. The ship was sent back to Europe and 254 Jews out of the 907 died in concentration camps. A shameful moment in history for Nova Scotia, and Canada. Yes, we were coming out of a depression at this time, and jobs were far and few, but sending a ship full of humans away who were in need of our help, it is sickening.
With the recent terrorist attacks by Muslim extremists, a large number of Canadians are concerned with the 25,000 Syrian refugees Trudeau has promised to take into Canada before the end of 2015. Many Canadians are pleading for a referendum. We only have six weeks before the end of 2015 and perhaps timelines may need to be extended, I am not sure. However I am confident in my country’s screening process of refugees as I know it is very thorough. With the heightened fear and assumed risks, I also know, we will be more diligent in screening, and that is why I don’t necessarily agree that Trudeau’s timelines are realistic. However, The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has already cleared a number of Syrians for entry. In addition, before ISIS existed, many had already fled Syria and have been waiting for years now to escape their homeland. We already have more “invasive screening” (if you may) by CSIS and the RCMP in place for profiles of applicants who are not women with children, the geriatric population, whereas single men and women will be vehemently audited to ensure we are not bringing anyone into Canada who will propose a threat. CSIS and the RCMP have experts who are specifically trained to identify any potential risks.
Educate yourself like the wise & intelligent Canadians we are. The below CSIS link is a great start!
Fear comes from the unknown and ignorance. The belief that a large number or even small number of insidious refugees trying to enter our country is based on unawareness, or only being shown a small piece of the puzzle which bears no reflection on the larger picture aka the truth. Once again, these refugees are called “refugees” for a reason, they are fleeing their home in search for a life with peace and potential. Let’s leave the concerns of who is allowed into our country with the experts who know what to look for, whereas we don’t.
Peace and love as always – Rachel