It seemed like a wonderful future was in store for the Syrian refugees arriving in Canada, in December last year. The Prime Minister himself greeted the refugees as they disembarked the plane. “You’re safe at home now,” he claimed.
Trudeau received a lot of media attention for his engagement with the refugees. And he did not miss the chance to score political points by making passionate speeches. “Tonight they step off the plane as refugees,” he said. “But they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada.”
It all seemed too good to be true.
Let’s see how those refugees are faring now under the liberal government that wants to protect their rights.
The earliest cracks began to appear in Trudeau’s refugee policy when his government spectacularly failed to meet the target of welcoming 25,000 refugees by the end of 2015. The deadline was then pushed back to the end of February this year as the immigration minister John McCallum said the target was impossible to reach.
It was clear that, for Trudeau, the logistics of settling thousands of Syrian refugees and the reality of dealing with the issues that may arise were not as important as the opportunity to make political statements and photo-ops with refugee children. And since then, the problems have continued to pile up.
Violence in the schools
In April this year, as the media was busy reporting how brilliant Trudeau was at quantum computing, there were stories in media about acts of violence committed by refugee children.
One such story was reported Chronicle Herald, but then quickly taken down for the fear of appearing insensitive towards the minorities. The story reported an incident in which the daughter of a woman, nicknamed “Missy”, was chocked multiple times by refugee children while her son was threatened on the soccer field.
Reports of abuse
There are also significant concerns whether the incoming refugees would be able to adapt to the Canadian culture and values. The initial signs don’t look too encouraging, however.
A recent CBC report, based on the work of a Toronto-based non-profit organization working with the Arab community, presented a staggering statistic: “Every week, one Syrian woman comes forward to say she’s the victim of domestic abuse.”
Some of the important takeaways from this report are: it happens every week, in Toronto alone, and that these are just the cases that get reported.
Resources to resettle
Another significant question to ask here is: Does the country have enough resources to resettle all the refugees? Do we have enough to provide them housing or social services?
The Trudeau government might be quick to claim that we do. But that’s not what the Canadians think. According to a poll by the Globe and Mail, an overwhelming 61 percent participants disagreed or somewhat disagreed that the communities have the capability to provide for the refugees.
The Senate’s call
One of the most succinct summaries of the refugee problem was presented by the chairman of the Senate committee on human rights, Senator Jim Munson, who said:
“Canada has welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees with fine words and open arms. These alone are not sufficient to address the very real and very urgent problems that lie ahead.”
The Senate already issued a report highlighting the sufferings of Canadian refugees. It is clear that if some of the issues facing the refugees aren’t resolved in coming months, there would be a potential for instability and rampant radicalization in the near future.