By: Steve Dellar | 11-26-2017 | News
Photo credit: @CP24 | Twitter

Canadian Refugee Support In Decline

The picture of a lifeless young boy, Aylan Kurdi, on a beach, was what caused a jump in Canadian empathy for refugees in the fall of 2015 which stayed well into 2016.

However, with the war in Syria ending, European border closures spread out in the Canadian press and several ISIS inspired attacks both in Canada in the US, support for hosting more refugees is on the decline everywhere, and also in Canada.

As the number of donations and support has dropped significantly, human rights organisations in Canada like Refugee 613 are faced with the daunting task of trying to keep sponsorships of Syrians and people in need from other parts of the world alive.

Ms Louisa Taylor, co-founder and president of Refugee 613, admits that she is a little disappointed: "But I also know that we did an incredible job … of doing far more than we had done for a long time."

"We want to make sure sponsorship becomes embedded as a regular part of community life."

“The drop in sponsorships is not because there's a lack of empathy or desire to help vulnerable people,” Ms Taylor claims.

“Other refugee programs can take years and years, which becomes a deterrent for sponsors.”

The Canadian government had hoped for refugee empathy to stay high as they are now toying with the idea of inviting several hundreds of Rohinga Muslims (which have fled Burma in recent weeks and months), but given the number of anti-refugee protests seen across Canada recently, it realizes that now is the not best time.

Ms Taylor says they are focusing on raising awareness about the federal government's Blended Visa Office-Referred program: "We're telling people, first of all, that sponsorship is alive and well, and that there are refugees all over the world, 1.2 million of them, who UNHCR says are in urgent need of resettlement."

"And we're telling them specifically about this pathway in which the government pays half the cost, and the refugee would arrive within six months."


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