Candidates Weigh in on the Syrian Refugees Crisis
Prince George, B.C. – It’s day two of our special election coverage examining the views of local candidates.
And this time the candidates in the ridings of Cariboo-Prince George and Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies have weighed in on the most pressing international issue of the day – the Syrian refugee crisis.
Specifically 250 News asked each of them: What do you think should be done to address the Syrian refugee crisis? (answers in alphabetical order)
Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies:
Elizabeth Biggar, Green Party: This is a humanitarian crisis and we need to act now to help. We should use our military to help bring refugees to Canada, while maintaining high security in screening, ramping the number of refugees to 40,000 over the next five years. We need to live up to our commitments to the UN High Commission for Refugees.
We need to stop bombing Syria and go back to become the peackeeping nation that we once were.
Todd Keller, Libertarian Party of Canada: States should not meddle in the political activities or internal conflicts of other countries, this is what leads to refugee crises. Libertarians acknowledge the self autonomy of the migrant refugees to seek safety. A good Libertarian would take a refugee into their home to prevent the State from having to foot the bill for their relocation. I have personally given this help to people in the past at my home in Fort St. John, BC. I suggest people open their homes and help turn this problem now.
Matt Shaw, Liberal Party: I think we have to do our part to help in this crisis. A Liberal Government would take 25,000 Syrian refugees and spend an immediate $100 million to process and settle them in Canada. Having said that, I also believe that this is not the last such crisis we’re going to see. Canada is a very desirable place to live and is well known throughout the world as a haven from all sorts of oppression. We have to be clear on what our future strategy is going to be with regard to refugees. While we want to be humane and compassionate, we can’t make the mistake of overwhelming our capacity to integrate refugees, like has happened in some countries in Europe. We have to be prepared and realistic about what we can do and how effectively we can do it.
*Note Conservative incumbent Bob Zimmer and NDP challenger Kathi Dickie in the Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies riding declined the opportunity to respond.
Tracy Calogheros, Liberal Party: This crisis is just that, a crisis. Crises require decisions and immediate action. While simply housing refugees will not solve the problem, it will ease the crisis being faced by individuals. The reason why this has resonated so broadly with Canadians is that we are a country made up largely of immigrants, the children of immigrants and in many cases of refugees. We need to bring large numbers of Syrian families to Canada, quickly. We can screen these people in conjunction with other international organizations for security and begin to address the immediate human crisis. Claiming that this is impossible is simply not true.
We must also work with our UN partners to address the root of this problem. Canada’s role has traditionally been that of peacekeeper, but military action alone will never solve the problems confronting the region. We need to find an international consensus on the best approach to the region for long-term peace and then pursue that peace in the role that makes sense for Canada.
Sheldon Clare, Independent: Ensure that refugee applications are dealt with as quickly as due process will allow. We must ensure that refugees accepted in Canada are properly screened to avoid bringing in criminals or potential terrorists, and to determine that those accepted are either in danger, or will provide economic benefit to Canada.
Adam De Kroon, Christian Heritage Party: We should be ready to help and accept more Syrian refugees. But at the same time we need to make sure the refugees we are bringing in are real refugees whose lives are threatened by staying in Syria, and not people trying to get into Canada under the pretence of being refugees. There have recently been reports of Saudi Arabians and Iraqis going into Syria, throwing away all ID and then getting into other countries as refugees while many real Syrian refugees are still left there. One way of trying to prevent this would be for our Embassy in Syria to process refugee claims in Syria where the basis of the claims can be properly verified.
Trent Derrick, NDP: The United Nations Special Rapporteur has called for the West to resettle one million Syrian refugees over the next five years—that would make Canada’s share nine thousand Syrian refugees per year. Canada must act now to assist with this ambitious and very necessary agenda.
The NDP plan to bring Syrian refugees to Canada includes bringing ten thousand government-sponsored Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of this year. We’ll respond to the UN Special Rapporteur’s request with a plan to settle nine thousand refugees each year, for the next four years. An NDP government will restore Canada’s reputation as a compassionate, respected player on the world stage.
Todd Doherty, Conservative Party: I support the government’s commitment to take in 25,000 refugees from Syria over the next four years. I also support the very recent announcement that we will match donations made by Canadians in response to the crisis in Syria. This builds on our significant response to the crisis. Canada is already one of the top providers of humanitarian aid to the region, one of the top countries in resettling refugees, and Canada is participating with our Allies in the international coalition taking the fight to ISIS.
Richard Jacques, The Green Party: Canada should open its Foreign Diplomatic missions to Syrian Refugees applicants and expedite the process to enable families to exit the region sooner then later. We should utilize our military transport aircraft currently in foreign theater of operations to transport those most in crisis to safety on Canadian soil.
Tomorrow’s question: Would you press for revisions to Bill C-51?