During the election Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to relocate 25,000 Syrian refugees to the safety of Canadian soil before the end of the year. Of that number, experts believe that Waterloo Region will welcome approximately 1,000 Syrian refugees to our community as part of these efforts. The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce supports these efforts and strongly supports the issues of immigrants and refugees through our leadership of the Immigration Partnership of Waterloo Region.
Over the last number of days, since the Paris terrorist attacks, legitimate questions have been raised not about whether we should welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, but about the deadline to achieve the relocations.
In recent interviews, Toronto Mayor John Tory and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Perrin Beatty, have both said that on a project of this magnitude and importance, the government should not be held to a deadline of December 31st. Rather, taking the time needed to get it right should be the most importance factor.
The GKWCC understands how important immigrants and refugees are to the growth, sustainability, and vibrancy of Waterloo Region. We fully support the work of the Immigration Partnership of Waterloo Region to welcome those settling in our community and ensure a sense of belonging and finding meaningful work in our Region for newcomers.
However, nothing positive is gained by rushing refugee relocation. Time and proper screening are needed in order to satisfy all concerned parties when helping such a large number of refugees.
The events in Paris this past week are of great concern to the world community and Waterloo Region. Refugees have been part of Canada’s development for over a century with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing hardships from Hungary, Poland, Scotland, the Czech Republic, Uganda, Kosovo, Vietnam, and so many other areas of conflict. They are our neighbours, friends, and family.
As a country, Canada can and must welcome refugees as quickly, and safely as possible.