DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Tossing Pebbles in the Stream .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Refugees in Canada

I have not been without critics on my generosity of spirit toward refugees and my criticisms of the Canadian government's mean spirited attitude toward the recent boat loads of Tamil's asking for refuge, in my previous post. So be it. I make no apologies for being "a bleeding heart liberal."

Canada's refugee "problem" is very modest compared to other countries which are more easily reached by people fleeing social and political situations around the world. Those who do manage to reach Canada and make their case as legitimate refugees have my admiration. They often make significant contributions to Canada. Their stories, their gratitude to Canada and Canada's usual generous acceptance of them all make me proud to be a Canadian.

Recently, the CBC has been broadcasting a summer series of programs about the stories of refugees and immigrants who have found refuge in Canada. It is called Promised Land. http://www.cbc.ca/promisedland/

The individuals, whose stories are featured, are told in their own voices interviewed by the hostess Natasha Fatah. They are well worth listening to. I think I have heard them all. You can listen to the podcasts on the web site above.

The stories are from countries near and far, from the US to Vietnam to Honduras and beyond.
For several it took years to finally reach Canada, after escapes from their home country which are remarkable and frightening. Only through struggle and persistence did they succeed in reaching Canada.

Natasha Fatah has created a wonderful series of programs and is a very charming and skillfull interviewer. Her family were immigrants from Pakistan. Her father, Tarek Fatah is an interesting and controversial person for his opinions within the Muslim community and Canadian electorial politics.

If you have not heard this series of programs, I recommend you find the time and listen to some of them. You will not be disappointed.

22 Comments:

At 7:45 AM, Blogger Peggy said...

I at one time tried to make Canada my home. I absolutely love every inch of your beautiful country. There was so much red tape and so many interviews, paperwork, etc just to live there for a couple years that I gave up. I will check out your link. Have a great day Phil!!

 
At 10:05 AM, Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--I will make my comment here on this and the prior post. First, I totally agree with your distinction. In fact, as I was reading, I was framing a comment to that end, then came upon your rejoinder.
Second, thank goodness Canada welcomed refugees in times past. My ancestor were Empire Loyalists and moved to Canada after the Revolutionary war in the U.S.
Third, Tamils are of course a known guerilla organization and as such, the Canadian government should do due diligence in vetting the individuals.
Fourth, with global climate change there will be MANY people from low lying areas who flee their countries. Sri Lanka is one such country, though no doubt these Tamils are not leaving for that reason. There will be refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and other flood damaged places. Countries will need to work together to handle all these poor, starving, homeless people.

 
At 11:29 AM, Blogger Navigator said...

Apparently the United Nations Refugee Agency doesn't share your dour view of the Canadian government's handling of the Tamil boat. This news story:

Sri Lankan returnees back home in Trincomalee, east Sri Lanka
17 August 2010 – The United Nations refugee agency said today it is encouraged by the way Canadian authorities have handled the situation involving 490 Sri Lankan nationals of Tamil origin who arrived by boat to the country last week and have claimed asylum.
The group, which includes men, women and children, were passengers of the cargo ship MV Sun Sea that docked at Vancouver Island in the province of British Columbia on Friday.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) noted that the reception site for the arrivals was well designed, and that needs in terms of information gathering, food and water have been well anticipated.

“Based on what we have seen thus far, we commend the exemplary work of the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) in coordinating the arrival and reception of the MV Sun Sea passengers,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told reporters in Geneva.

He added that UNHCR supports the important work of law enforcement agencies in combating human smuggling, an issue that has received much attention in relation to the MV Sun Sea case.

“It is nonetheless important to recognize that while refugees and migrants might use the same means of transportation, sometimes illegal, refugees are a distinct group with critical protection needs,” said Mr. Mahecic. “It is not a crime to seek asylum.”

The agency said it recognizes the considerable challenges that disembarkation and the processing of people from MV Sun Sea will entail, and will be following these activities to help compliance with the relevant provisions for treatment of persons seeking asylum and refugee status.

Sri Lankan forces declared victory over the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May 2009 after a conflict that had raged on and off for nearly three decades and killed thousands of people.

UNHCR recently issued revised guidelines pertaining to Sri Lanka to help decision-makers in reviewing asylum claims, including a recommendation that in light of the improved security situation since the end of the conflict, claims by asylum-seekers from that country should be considered on their individual merits rather than on a group basis.

There are currently almost 146,100 Sri Lankan refugees in 64 countries, with over 73,000 hosted by India. In addition, there are more than 7,500 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers known to UNHCR in 57 countries, with Switzerland, Malaysia and Canada topping the list of host countries.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Ginnie said...

This is a subject that is extemely complex ...but I always come back to the basic fact that we were all refugees at some point !

 
At 11:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having heard a former Canadian Ambassador who was also a former member of the Refugee Review Board last Sunday on Cross Contry Check-up, I would like to share with you what he said. First of all, the Tamil boat people are asylum seekers not refugees. The Refugee Review Board will determine their status. Unfortunately, they displace those refugees who are already recognized by our governemnt as legitimate and are in UN camps waiting to come to Canada. Apparently the government is spending so much money on people who just arrive on our doorstep that the legitimate refugee process is being hampered. It is a very complex problem and there is no easy solution to it.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Gretchen said...

it's obvious there is a major difference between those going to Canada and the huddled masses rushing our borders in the USA. The ones coming here legally should be welcomed with opened arms. They will learn our language and try to fit in. Those who come in illegally don't care. They expect America to bend over backwards to serve them. We need to learn THEIR language and give them everything for FREE becuase they have Rights. Spare me! I'm a bleeding heart liberal, too, but enough is enough. Can we go to Mexico or wherever they are from and DEMAND it give us rights? Of course not. They'd laugh us all the way back to the States or stomp us into prison for even daring!

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Putz said...

correct me if i am wrong, but isn't your country a big and largely unpopulated land?????????i cannot for the life of me see what is wrong with a people wanting a new start in a largely underpopulated country< acctuually i can't see the problem with our immigrants here in the us of a actually either>>> once a person makes it to our country{and most try to make a legitimate go of it} they deserve a friend, eating, education, and medical services>>>no not big homes, expensive trucks{most would like an expensive truck} or heaps of money in theri pockets>>i do not like anon's attitude>>>it is much like mu own son's who want everyone who stuggles done awy with systematically and hav only they who pull thwere own weight able to survie>>>i want to help everyone however>>>PLWase respond back with youe opinon >>it is valued

 
At 9:37 AM, Blogger possum said...

I truly have no idea how I feel about immigration and refugees… I am a mixed blood, my Native American side escaped into Canada many, many years ago from the northern Delaware Valley, the Pocono Mountains region. So I guess we were the first refugees. 4 generations back, my great grandparents returned to Pennsylvania, determined to reclaim their land. So I look at invasions of outsiders differently, perhaps, since most early Europeans to arrive here were terrorists to my people. Somehow I see the irony in the invaders worrying about the new invaders, who, 2 generations from now will be worrying about the next wave of invaders. Maybe the Mexicans will be coming into Canada by then. Speaking French will be a moot point as everyone will then be speaking Spanish.
Our classrooms here used to be 55-45, black to white. They are now 40/35/25, Hispanic, black or mixed, white. This started to happen about10 years ago. The newest group are Haitians.
But, it seems the problem in school is “cutting” line. Most fights start in school because someone cut in line. There is a lot of yelling and fussing if it is someone of the same race, but if someone of a different race cuts line, there is often retribution… it may be subtle, but it will happen.
My ancestors welcomed the first invaders from Europe. Little did they know! I laugh when people yell about the new invaders not speaking English. Well, how many of us speak Algonquin?

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger judie said...

Ah Philip, I have no problem with wanting to better one's self. What I do have a problem with is illegal border crossers who take and don't give. I do have a problem with smugglers of drugs. I do have a problem with those who come and dont pay taxes. I do have a problem with jobs that are given to illegals. I do have a problem with coming to another country and not working towards becoming a citizen and learning the language. If the U.S. had all the red tape and paperwork, etc. that Canada has, we would not have such a problem here. I know of many (yes many because I work around them and have access to their files) who come here, get their "green card", then work and DO NOT PAY FEDERAL TAXES LIKE I HAVE TO DO! Free hospitalization when they are sick so MY INSURANCE PREMIUMS GO UP. After their alloted time is up, they go back across the border, and come back in a few weeks using a different name and get a new SS number so they can work again. Or, they send their brother who uses their name and SS number to work here and take jobs from Americans. Like I said, do it right, do it honest, and I have no problem. So, I'll shut up now because I'm sure I have p.....d some people off.

 
At 4:13 PM, Blogger Peggy said...

Phil, I love craigslist! Wish we were closer and I could give you doors and windows. All brand new and all different sizes. If you don't see what you want just go to wanted section and type in what you want.

 
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