Canada Can Do More in the Syria Crisis

By James Metcalfe | June 24, 2013

James Metcalfe – Pace Immigration: On June 20, World Refugee Day, the ministry of immigration released a self congratulatory news release on its recent accomplishments. Conspicuous by its absence was any announcement about plans to assist any of the more than 1 million Syrians living in refugee camps outside of Syria. Many of these people have strong connections to Canada.

While the war escalates, Canada is accepting Bhutanese, another 1000 this year for a total of 6500. While Syria is in the news every day, most Canadian would be hard pressed to know where Bhutan is, and what is the cause of the Bhutanese coming to Canada.

Don’t get me wrong. Canada has a long history of assisting persons fleeing repression and war: Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Vietnam 1975, and a host of other humanitarian movements, from Uganda to Haiti to Lebanon. Frankly I do not understand the government’s aversion to being proactive in regards to Syria, particularly when it comes to resettling refuges in this situation.

I am not singling out Canada for this criticism, as Canada is but one of a host of nations in this situation. Perhaps Canada is waiting for leadership in this area whereas Canada has been a leader in the past.