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A proverbial 'drop in the bucket' by Sandy Lindsay

January 11, 2016
www.saugeentimes.com

Editorial

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In a recent survey by the Saugeen Times, we asked "Do you support the plan to bring refugees to Canada?"

The results were surprising, to me at least, as the results were quite close.

Those against the plan was at 44.39 per cent and those in support  of the plan by a narrow margin was 55.61 per cent.

What was more surprising to me were some of the comments.  I like to think that I am not naive ... being a 'reporter' and all.  However, some of the comments were so vitriolic against the plan and the people, that I refuse to print them because they are a reflection on our 'Canadianism'.

Growing up in northern Ontario, I remember even at a young age, people who came from Finland, the Ukraine and elsewhere as immigrants ... today, they would be refugees.  In those days, they were known as DPs.  Unfortunately, we did not think anything of the term. It was who they were ... Displaced Persons.  Now, looking back, I wonder what they thought of the term.  To us, born in Canada, it didn't mean anything, it was simply who we thought they were. 

As a family, we had Finnish friends who brought to us a rich culture that I still remember today.  For instance, we had heard of the tradition of 'sauna', but we had never experienced it, until our friends from Finland introduced us to it. In the dead of a northern Ontario winter, we would all go in the sauna, adults and children, and then run out and throw ourselves into the snow! Still remember it to this day.

We also experienced 'cabbage rolls' and pirogues.  Today, they are common but then they were a 'foreign' food from the Ukraine, as was the 'pizza' offered by the first Italian family that opened the very first Italian restaurant in the region.  Then came the Chinese family with yet another offering of 'foreign' food. Different? Definitely. Enriching? Absolutely! 

Today, we are again offering a new life to those who are escaping horrors that we, as Canadians, cannot even begin to imagine. 

One comment in the survey said,  "Many of us are here because our ancestors were refugees or immigrants looking for a better life in Canada & we should extend the same opportunities to others who need it."

To me, that says it all.

Then, there is a response such as this. "Not in this case. I fully support culturally appropriate refugees that are properly screened but this is more akin to opening the jails and letting everyone out. The problems need to be solved in their own countries and they need to stay there and solve them."

Culturally appropriate - what on earth does that even mean?  Opening the jails and letting everyone out.  Does that mean the women and little children too?  They need to stay there and solve them (their problems).  Stay in a country where there is no food, often no water and the chance of being slaughtered?  Stay and solve their problems ... at what expense ... the death of their children?

Click the orange arrow to read the second column

As one survey responder said, "No one is more entrepreneurial than a person who would take the ultimate risk for a better life for them or for their children. Immigrants are our future!"

For this survey responder, the plan is seen as a political move. "This government and the people bringing them here are doing this to make themselves feel good."

If that were true, wouldn't the former government have put the plan in place? It didn't.  This isn't about government 'feel good' sentiments, it is about lending a helping hand to those who need it.  It is about taking care of our 'fellow human beings'.

Then, there was this comment ..."There are people in Canada who need help and can't get it so why bring more. Soon it will be their country not the ones born and raised here."

What a statement!  Perhaps, the author should have included the word "LUCKY enough to be born and raised here."

In the second largest country in the world, at almost 10 million kilometres, do people actually think that 25,000 refugees, which is the government's goal, spread throughout Canada,  is going to make an enormous difference? 

In the grand scheme of things, it is a proverbial 'drop in a bucket'.


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