Monday, December 11, 2017

Open Space: Canadians must welcome Syrian refugees

March 1, 2017 by Kennidy Anderson, contributing writer

Unless you’re an Australopithecine living in Eastern Africa, you’re an immigrant, which is something that I like to remind those who are against welcoming Syrian refugees into Canada. According to the federal government, Canada has resettled 40,081 Syrian refugees within its borders as of January 29, 2017. My only question is this: where are the rest of them?

I find it incredibly ironic that people who can so passionately proclaim their love for those that they know can also boldly declare their hate for groups of people different than their own. I’ve recently heard many a diatribe against our refugees and it’s beyond my realm of understanding how such prejudice and negativity can be directed towards the innocent children and adults of Syria, who just want to be able to live in freedom; who want to be able to raise their families with safety, proper education, and healthcare; who simply desire the ability to live beyond the fear of being bombed as they sleep.

This story originally appeared in our March 1, 2017 issue.

People say, “What about the extremists? We can’t just be letting anybody into our country.” Which, yes, I agree with. So, we as active Canadian citizens can make a point to push the government to implement an increase of security screening processes.

Others speak out against the refugees who have committed crimes in Canada, citing them as reasons to not let other refugees in; sure, if the majority of the Syrian refugees were committing crimes every day, then I could see not wanting to grant them access to our country. However, they are not. Nobody says “Let’s get all of the Caucasians in their mid-30s out of Canada” when a crime is committed by someone fitting that description, so let’s not let stereotypes define the way we see people.

I had a conversation with someone the other day who said, “Why am I putting my tax dollars toward helping these people who wouldn’t do the same for me? That doesn’t seem right.”

Now, I don’t think it can actually be called “helping people” if it’s only being done with the expectation of getting something in return or that they would do the same for you. I don’t believe that a country should be run on a tit-for-tat mentality; I do believe that it’s good to help the Syrian refugees—and anybody else, for that matter—because they need it.

If you expect compensation then you’re providing a service, not providing help. Our energy and resources should be spent on trying to improve the human race as a whole, not on trying to improve ourselves.

We, as Canadians, are not free because we are any better; we are free because we happen to have been born in this great country. So, if a little bit of extra cash comes off of my paycheque to help a family escape their war-torn country to find solace and freedom in ours, by all means, please, take my money. That’s a hell of a lot more useful than whatever else I would manage to spend it on.

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