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October 27, 2017 10:00 pm

Syrians Settling In

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 @ 5:59 AM

Prince George, B.C. – Six months in and the first Syrian family to arrive in Prince George is adjusting to life quite nicely here thank you very much.

Rose Toume, husband Nael and three of her four children (one son is living in Dubai) arrived to great fanfare in January.

Rose Toume takes a seat in her shared office at IMSS - photos 250News

Rose Toume takes a seat in her shared office at IMSS – photos 250News

So how are things going so far?

“We are very happy,” says Rose Toume, who recently found full-time employment as a settlement assistant at the Immigrant & Multicultural Services Society (IMSS). “Even my husband has started a full-time job. My daughter Sara is working in Manitoba but will come back (to attend UNBC) but we feel very happy.”

(She also has a 17-year-old son attending Cedars Christian high school and another will attend school in the Fraser Valley this fall).

She estimates over 50 Syrians have settled here and says many have jobs and are feeling settled though language remains the biggest challenge for most of them.

“Because it’s new for them. There are some other challenges too – like getting a driver’s license. My husband drove for 30 years in Syria and now he’s getting his “L” and failed his road test and will wait another month for another appointment.”

Despite the challenges though, she says the people of Prince George have helped greatly with the transition.

“Prince George is a lovely city. And people here, they are ready to help anyone. We’ve gotten help from different people, from different organizations. People from everywhere – in the streets – anywhere we go, Syrians are getting a lot of help,” she says.

“Even people from the government like Shirley Bond, Todd (Doherty), the mayor, many many people. Premier Christy Clark came here and showed her love so we really appreciate that.”

Looking ahead, Rose says she and her husband plan to one day buy a house and settle permanently here though she admits not all Syrians plan on staying.

“Some are looking for bigger cities, looking for more jobs you know. IMSS is helping Syrians find jobs which has helped a lot.”

She admits the missing link is the family and friends she was forced to leave behind in Syria.

“I love Canada and I love my country. But we hope one-day peace will come to Syria and we can go and visit.”



Glad to see they are settling in nicely and its a good news story for the city.

I had a pleasant interaction with a family from Syria but did not know about it until well afterwards. I was at Subway and there was a family of 5 ahead of me the parents were looking at their children who were trying to describe the food choices as I was the only other customer in the store I had no issues waiting and even helped the staff explain to the family what the various breads, vegetables and styles of meat were.

It took about 20 minutes and the family was thankful and the staff were very patient and took their time shortly thereafter they left after paying for their food and I thought nothing more of it until about 3 weeks later when the family appeared in a FB page post and all the dots connected.

Hope they are doing well

Same in our city . The xenophobia that the Harper government was promoting during the election did not happen . I have seen a few naqabs and it really wasn’t the end of the world . Let’s hope that our newcomers know that the haters are now in the opposition .

I’m glad that the Toume family is doing well. I do note, however, that their success does not bear on the debate about Syrian Muslim immigration since they are not Muslims. Judging from the names of the children and the crosses that some of them wear, they seem to be Antiochan Christians, that is, members of a branch of Eastern Orthodoxy.

    Um, give it time and a chance.. just like Paris and Sweden did, then watch what happens. It is the extreme muslims which tend to follow that are the problem. France has had ‘no go’ zones, for the French, for years. They are warned if they travel into Muslim neighborhoods, they are at risk. Same as London. Same as Sweden, Denmark and now Germany.

    Of course they are Christians billposer, the church would not have sponsored and supported them if they were Muslims.

    Speaking of which, further down ole Leroy refers to being against them (Muslims) wearing “full niqabs” which he obviously confuses with burqas… perhaps if he could tell the difference between a niqab, hijab, and a burqa? But what the heck ignorance is bliss when you are a xenophobe!

    ht tp://i.imgur.com/3kWEDtW.jpg

The majority of Canadians, including us Harper supporters, have no problem with the Syrian refugees! All that we asked for was that the refugees be properly vetted in a timely manner, instead of Justin’s unreasonable and irresponsible rush to kiss butt!

We asked that immigrants to our country follow a process that has been in place for years!

We asked that the processes be followed instead of being fast-tracked to meet some ideological whim!

We asked above all, that the safety and the security of Canada and it’s citizens be paramount in all immigration decisions!

For this, some have labelled us xenophobes, and by “us” I mean Canadians of all political parties, Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, and even Greenies! After all, the majority of Canadians supported reasonable and rational immigration procedures! A few in the minority, make claims of xenophobia in their rather feeble attempt to appear “holier than thou”!

Does that sound about right and strike close to home, Ataloss??

    No it does not . The xenophobia was used as a tool to sway voters by you cons and Lynton Crosby brought to canada by the Harper government to ferment fear . The naqab and kellie lietch’s “barbaric cultural practices hot line ” during the election was designed to instill fear . It was divisive , crass and unacceptable for normal Canadians . You own the hate card and shall wear it forever . You can deny it all you like as with climate change . You were on the wrong side of history then as you are now. Suck it up and own it . It’s all yours . You seem to know little about the other parties in canada . What a surprise !

      As someone who’s family immigrated to Canada at the turn of the last century and as recently as within the past 10 years and by following all of the required steps without any fast-tracking, I very much appreciate Canada and the ability to immigrate to Canada!

      You attempt to lay the hate card on me and yet you don’t even personally know me! I have friends from countries all over the world! I have business associates from many different ethnicities! I have gay friends, both male and female! I do business with First Nations individuals! I suspect that I am also a lot more fun at parties than you might be! You don’t know me Ataloss but let me tell you that I certainly don’t suffer the “holier than thou” complex that you yourself appear to suffer from, haha!

      What I do suffer from, and I make NO apologies for it, is a complete lack of respect for those that expect me to pay their way for them! I have zero respect for government waste and inefficiency! I have zero respect for bleeding hearts that expect me to wipe their butt from cradle to grave, regardless of my ability to pay! I especially have ZERO RESPECT for those that speak of my rights to my own opinion, except when my opinion differs from their “holier than thou” opinion!

      That last sentence was clearly for you Ataloss!

      And speaking of climate change, Seamutt keeps asking you for proof and so far, you have failed to provide any!

      Now, be a good boy and go see what kind of sandwich your Mom made you for lunch!

      The vast, THE VAST majority of Canadians, (Conservatives, NDP, Liberals and Greens) disagreed with Justin’s fast-tracking immigration policies!

      The vast majority Ataloss, from all political stripes! All!

People like Ataloss are so quick to throw around the hate card whenever someone opposes their view. Perhaps Ataloss should watch the 6:00 o’clock news and see the problems some refugees are causing in other countries. I say “some” refugees because obviously all are not bad, but the fact is there are some that are bad and that is why there must be a proper process in place, not some “fast tracking” process just to proclaim “Look at us, we aren’t racist” and garner a few votes.

The idea that the majority of Canadians were against the niqab isn’t really true. That Harper used it to win favor in Quebec is.

“The Privy Council Office poll was conducted by Leger between March 12 and 25. The calls to 3,000 Canadians were made the week after the Conservatives filed their appeal of the Federal Court decision. Right before the survey began, Harper had called the niqab a product of a culture that is anti-woman, while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had given a major speech on liberty in politics.

Participants in the survey were asked “do you support or oppose a requirement that people show their face during Canadian citizenship ceremonies?”

Eighty-two per cent of those surveyed supported the requirement, 15 per cent opposed and four per cent didn’t know or refused to answer. Support was highest in Quebec at 93 per cent and lowest in B.C. at 72 per cent. Reasons for support were varied, with the most common answer in the poll being the need for identification.”

    ‘“The Privy Council Office poll was conducted by Leger between March 12 and 25. The calls to 3,000 Canadians were made the week after the Conservatives filed their appeal of the Federal Court decision. Right before the survey began, Harper had called the niqab a product of a culture that is anti-woman, while Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau had given a major speech on liberty in politics.’

    – I call BS, there is no way Canadians want people wandering around in full niqab.

I am happy to see a family who’ve only been here six months, in spite of the trauma of coming from a war zone, have managed to find home, schooling, employment, and are contributing to society. Keep in mind though, this family was a sponsored family by a church group – so a whole support structure is in place for them. I wonder what the success rate for government sponsored refugees is.

Oh and previous post – the majority of Canadians weren’t against is not true. We are more xenophobic as a country than we are willing to admit.

    Au contraire ski51, there are a lot of people who don’t agree with the Liberals immigration policy, but they don’t speak out for fear of being labelled a “racist” or “hater”.

      I don’t think my post was clear. According to that poll the majority of Canadians did support the ban on niqab. So the assertions that the Conservatives were the only xenophobes is false. The majority of Canadians actually agreed with the Conservatives on that issue – but, obviously they agreed with Trudeau more on other issues.

“Of course they are Christians billposer, the church would not have sponsored and supported them if they were Muslims.” Actually, I wasn’t sure about that. Religious groups do sometimes sponsor refugees who are not of their religion. At least two synagogues in Canada are sponsoring Syrian refugees, none of whom are Jewish.

    “Faith-based groups will play a vital role in greeting them here. Churches dominate a government roster of more than 100 organizations pre-approved for refugee work, but they also have capacity, experience and histories of moving mountains. In a climate of fearfulness of Muslims, workers see the work as bridge-building, a way to help ease minds and humanize their global neighbours. One woman joined her parish committee, says Millard, admitting she was “terrified of refugee sponsorship” and wanted to face those fears head on.”

    ht tp://edmontonjournal.com/news/politics/church-groups-play-vital-role-in-bringing-refugees-to-canada-bridging-cultural-gaps

    I stand corrected.

leroyjenkins nailed it and gets bombarded with the minus. Not racism in any form, he was just stating a fact. Get your head out of the sand. Its True.

    Bang on man, but few will say it publicly because they will be labelled a “hater”. I wonder what would happen if me as a Caucasian male walked into a bank in the winter with my face covered with a balaclava? Before you go off the deep end Ataloss it is a fair question..

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