‘Fix Canada First’ posters were found pasted to bus stops along Douglas Street in Victoria. (Keili Bartlett/News staff)

Readers divided in response to anti-refugee posters in Victoria

Posters found in bus stops on Douglas Street spark online debate

While many of the ‘Fix Canada First’ posters found in Victoria bus stops have been torn down since they were spotted on Dec. 12, their anti-refugee sentiments have been debated — and even live on — in the comments of News readers.

Some admonished the posters, which read: “Fix Canada First. No more refugees. Take care of Canadians first. We have our own homeless/seniors/vets & health care to fix first.”

READ MORE: ‘Fix Canada First’ posters found at Victoria bus stops

Ian Ward wrote, “It’s disheartening to read how ignorant people are. One doesn’t inherently happen at the expense of the other…you can take care of those citizens in need, our veterans, and fund healthcare CONCURRENTLY with welcoming refugees fleeing war and persecution. You just need the political will to do it. Sadly these posters reflect the ignorance rampant in our country and sadly, on many of our Facebook feeds.”

To Ward’s comment, someone suggested making a new poster with his words on it.

One reader, Wayne Seator, said he had helped rip down some of the posters he found. “They make me sick!” he commented.

But not everyone thought the posters should be taken down. Instead, their critism was aimed at those who opposed the anti-refugee stance. Some said they agreed with the poster, and didn’t believe it had any racist or hateful ideas.

Leigh-Anne Hoffman was one of the supporters, writing, “I agree. We can’t even take care of our own citizens. There’s no money for Veterans or the homeless with mental issues, but a surplus for immigrants? I just don’t see the logic.”

In response, Amber Gillan told Hoffman, “Unfortunately I think you have some false information on refugee funding. The amount of monthly financial support that government-assisted refugees get is based on provincial social assistance rates. They get the same as any other family accessing social services. They also have to repay the cost of travel to Canada, with interest. Additionally, any refugees who are privately sponsored or those who claim refugee status after coming as asylum seekers are not entitled to any federal or provincial assistance.”

READ MORE: ‘Spread love’: UVic Pride replaces white supremacy posters in Victoria

The debate waged on, some offended by insinuations of racism.

The most liked comment was written by Kerene Loewen, which said: “Unless you are First Nations… you are a product of immigration… stop the ignorance.”

Ruth Paul, had a similar sentiment, commenting, “We are all New Canadians except for Indigenous peoples — embrace humankind.”

More readers shared their family’s story of immigrating to Canada, adding how generations of their families have paid taxes in Canada, thereby supporting their fellow Canadians.

Alma Lemo described her experience: “’The roads suck, the schools suck, health care sucks’ — do you know what the people seeking refuge in Canada are running from? Places where roads and homes are destroyed by the remnants of war, places where those things may not even exist. Do you know what it’s like to have a bomb fall in your backyard at 6 years old? Because I do. That’s what my family escaped when Canada allowed us to immigrate. And we were not a burden on the Canadian system, we were sponsored to come here, as many are. Doctors and dentists volunteered to treat us out of their own generosity until we were Canadian citizens who would then pay into those services just like every Canadian born citizen. We didn’t receive any special funding or money for immigrating like so many uneducated and misinformed people want to believe when they criticize immigration. The government does not deliver handouts, like you seem to believe. And there is certainly enough landmass and wealth to allow those leaving unspeakable circumstances a chance at survival.”

READ MORE: Greater Victoria ranks in top 10 Canadian cities for hate crimes


@KeiliBartlett
keili.bartlett@blackpress.ca

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