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October 28, 2017 12:48 am

The day Prince George grew

Monday, January 11, 2016 @ 3:45 AM

By Bill Phillips

We can get back to the politics of it anytime. Right now it’s time to welcome Prince George’s newest family.

Rose and Nael, and their children Sara, Samuel, and Barnabas received a warm welcome in the wee hours Friday morning. Sponsored by the Westwood Church and several members of the congregation, the five are the first Syrian family to arrive in the Northern Capital.

Kudos to the church and its congregation for making this happen, and kudos to everyone in Prince George for throwing out the welcome mat. We certainly don’t need incidents like the pepper-spraying of refugees in Vancouver. We’re better than that.

If you oppose Canada’s refugee plan, and some do, the proper venue to express that frustration is with your MP, not on those who are arriving here seeking a better life.

But right now, everyone in the city, whether directly involved in bringing refugees here or not, should walk a little taller. We should be proud that Prince George is doing its part to help with a humanitarian crisis halfway around the world.

We can joke that the environmental shock for the new family will be tough as someone undoubtedly told them that -20 degrees Celsius is nothing, wait until it hits -40 degrees. The culture shock will be a tough one too.

However, when the alternative is bombs and bullets, adaptation will be welcomed, worked at, and come relatively easily.

More refugees are on their way and, if other local churches and groups have their way, some will end up in Prince George.

A couple more Syrian families here will make it easier for all as it will build a bit of community. Anyone who has experienced immersion in a foreign culture will tell you the first few days are the hardest. The feelings of isolation and homesickness can be powerful, even when you’re not in any real danger. Just hearing your own language can lift your spirits immensely. That’s why more Syrian refugee families will help them all.

Prince George should, and will, embrace more refugees. It’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the Canadian thing to do. This country has built a solid reputation of being a kind and compassionate country. Early Friday morning we built on that reputation.

To Rose and Nael, and their children Sara, Samuel, and Barnabas … welcome to Prince George.

To the Westwood Church …  good job and the real work is just beginning.

o other churches and groups looking to bring more refugees here … good luck and keep up the good work.

As for the City of Prince George … we’ve grown, in more ways than one.

Bill Phillips is a freelance columnist living in Prince George. He was the winner of the 2009 Best Editorial award at the British Columbia/Yukon Community Newspaper Association’s Ma Murray awards, in 2007 he won the association’s Best Columnist award. In 2004, he placed third in the Canadian Community Newspaper best columnist category and, in 2003, placed second. He can be reached at billphillips1@mac.com


I’m sure that in the years to come, this will be another family who will look fondly back on this experience and hopefully adopt the values that drive us and replicate them. Thankyou to all involved.

Welcome to Prince George.

Church-mediated, Christian names… My money’s on this being Harper’s side of the refugee program, LOL.

Gotta wonder who’s giving the thumbs down to ‘Give more’ and ‘He spoke’ and why?

Did NOT like their “Yelling Tongue Chant” at the Airport !

LOLocaust@Actually, the Christians and other religious minorities are especially in need of asylum as they not only suffer like every one else form the war but are persecuted by the Muslims. There’s nothing here to blame on Harper.

I was neither blaming Harper nor denying the need for asylum, LOL. You guys, I tell ya. This family’s profile fits one of few that I’d support joining our community.

Posted on Monday, January 11, 2016 @ 9:30 AM by axman with a score of 3
Gotta wonder who’s giving the thumbs down to ‘Give more’ and ‘He spoke’ and why?

Don’t know, but do you really expect everyone to be happy about Syrian refugees coming to Canada?

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