PG Meeting Discusses Syrian Refugee Crisis
Prince George, B.C. – A lawyer, immigration experts, politicians, concerned citizens and even refugees themselves met in Prince George last night in what amounted to a brainstorming session on the Syrian refugee crisis.
Various ideas on how to bring refugees to Prince George were broached, be it via government channels or church groups, with one common theme: the need for money.
“It took an Iraqi family three months to come here and it cost $20,000,” said local immigration consultant Charles Scott.
The issue also raised the interest of local politicians, with Prince George City Councillor Brian Skakun noting council plans to bring forward a resolution at next week’s meeting.
“To bring to this month’s UBCM meeting so municipal governments can lobby Ottawa for help in dealing with the crisis.”
Talaat Bakri, a Syrian PhD student studying Environmental Sciences at UNBC, said the show of support warmed his heart.
“When I saw the meeting on Facebook it was very emotional for me and my wife to see people in Prince George interested and wanting to help Syrians,” he said.
But with Bakri’s mother and three sisters still in Syria, he said these are still stressful times.
“I have trouble sleeping, I’ve had trouble focusing on my work.”
So what did the meeting accomplish we asked meeting organizer NJ Baker.
“I think we now have a critical mass of people who are ready to help. It’s the first step toward coordinating some kind of action to have a local Prince George based support for Syrian refugees.”
She was also impressed roughly 40 people showed up to meet on short notice.
“You cast a net and you don’t know what you’ll catch so we’re very lucky to have the kind of turnout we had so now our responsibility is to take it further so we can use all this goodwill to really make a difference in various peoples lives.”
The group will meet again this Thursday at 7pm for a fundraising meeting at Books and Company.