Election 2015: Candidates outline plans to deal with refugees

Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke: Candidates speak out on refugee crisis

  • Sep. 29, 2015 10:00 a.m.

The Saanich News asked the candidates in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke the question: What should Canada’s role be in dealing with international refugees?

 

 

Shari Lukens – Conservative

The Government of Canada acts quickly and appropriately to requests for assistance from countries facing disasters, conflicts, or acute food insecurity.

Canada’s response is the result of close co-operation among Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development humanitarian officers, Canadians in the field, representatives of other governments and international and Canadian humanitarian partners, such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations World Food Programme.

In response to the Syria crisis, Canada has agreed to resettle 11,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2017 and 23,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of 2015. Canada has also committed to resettle 5,000 refugees who are now in Turkey by 2018. As of Sept. 1, 2015, more than 3,500 refugees from Syria and the region have been admitted to Canada.

Since January 2012, Canada has committed $503.5 million in international humanitarian assistance funding in response to the Syria crisis. The recently created Syria Emergency Relief Fund will match every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities in response to the impact of the conflict, up to $100 million, until Dec. 31.

 

 

Randall Garrison – NDP

 

The NDP is committed to get more Syrian refugees to Canada. We can begin by getting 10,000 Syrian refugees out of harm’s way and to Canada by the end of the year. The NDP has committed to work with the government to get those 10,000 government-sponsored refugees out of harm’s way and on the way to Canada by the end of this year through appointing a Syrian refugee co-ordinator, pulling resources from various departments including Foreign Affairs, Citizenship and Immigration and other departments.

We should also increase the presence of Canada’s diplomatic and immigration officials in the region to accelerate processing of refugees. Canada can work with Turkey and other affected countries to remove bureaucratic obstacles to resettlement and end Canada’s policy of discrimination, treating all refugees equally. An NDP government will fast-track private sponsorship, with no cap on numbers, to bring as many people as possible to Canada. We will also increase Canada’s contributions to humanitarian assistance agencies, including the UNHCR, based on the needs on the ground and help co-ordinate the response of the international community to the Syrian refugee crisis.

 

 

David Merner – Liberals

The Harper Conservatives have demonstrated astounding incompetence in their handling of the Syrian refugee crisis. We have a proud tradition in Canada as an open, generous country that has integrated refugees into our economy and society with great success. Canada should not stand idly by as families flee for their lives – let’s cut through the Conservative government’s bureaucratic red tape around refugees, without reducing screening standards.

Here’s how.  A Liberal government will:

Expand Canada’s intake to 25,000 refugees from Syria this year through immediate, direct sponsorship by the Government of Canada. We will also work with private sponsors to take in even more.

Invest an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase – without reducing standards – refugee processing rates, as well as the sponsorship and settlement services capacity in Canada.

Provide an immediate $100 million contribution to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to support the critical relief activities in Syria and the surrounding area.

 

 

Frances Litman – Green Party

Canada should be among the world leaders in accepting international refugees. For example, we believe that Canada should be accepting up to 40,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years.

 

We can do more to help. We should be using the Canadian Armed Forces to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada by the most efficient means possible, and those with family in Canada should be allowed immediate entry to complete their processing in safety.

 

 

 

Just Posted

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes following provincial reopening announcement

Recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

HMCS Corner Brook returned to Victoria’s waters for the first time since 2015 on June 10. (Courtesy of the Royal Canadian Navy)
WATCH: Navy surveillance submarine returning to Victoria waters

HMCS Corner Brook one of first submarines to receive new communications systems

A new multi-family residential project at the corner of Hillside Avenue and Cook Street will feature nine below market-priced units aimed at middle-income, first-time homebuyers, through a partnership between BC Housing and the developer. (Courtesy City of Victoria)
Middle-income first time homebuyers gain access to nine homes in Victoria

BC Housing partners with development community to create affordable purchases

The District of Saanich has pinpointed funding requests to Oak Bay and Victoria to help offset the purchase price of the Kings Park greenspace and keep the property intact. (Courtesy District of Saanich)
Saanich requests funding help from neighbours to preserve Kings Road green space

District hopes Victoria and Oak Bay will join them in protecting urban green space

Thriving Toots Wilderness School is trying to buy a 98-acre plot of undeveloped land from the Boys and Girls’ Club of Greater Victoria in Metchosin. (Contributed/Thriving Roots)
Hopeful buyers of Boys and Girls’ Club land in Metchosin would keep it wild

Nature-based school, partners trying to secure financing to buy 98-acre property: school director

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Most Read