The current refugee crisis, and our increased awareness of this huge global problem, is timely given the arrival of an Eritrean family in Rossland. Thank you to the many Rosslanders who have helped over the past two weeks. Ruta and sons are settling in well.
The bigger picture desperately needs to be addressed. Below is a letter I have sent to the federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration (Chris.firstname.lastname@example.org), copied to PM Harper (Stephen.email@example.com). Please write a letter of your own, and feel free to use some of mine as a template if that helps.
Dear Mr. Alexander,
Today I signed the petition circulating on change.org which calls on you and your government to help Syrian refugees. I am writing to let you know how important this issue is to me as a Canadian citizen. I hope you in turn will take it seriously and take immediate, definitive action.
Over the past two years I have been involved with resettling two families to my small hometown (Rossland, BC, pop 3500). We work through the Blended Visa Office-referred (BVOR) system and are affiliated with the sponsorship group East Kootenay Friends of Refugees.
It has been a rewarding experience for all involved, and has shown us how easy it is to share our world of plenty with refugee families (www.rosslandnews.com/news/323775501).
The crises facing Africa and the Middle East are not entirely of their own making. Westerners have exploited their natural resources for hundreds of years and continue to do so. We have used more than our share of the world’s supplies of water, minerals and fossil fuels. Our consumption-based lifestyles have disproportionately affected poorer nations.
Climate change has made food and clean water production increasingly difficult for them, while distribution of these essentials is equally challenging. We cannot stand by and expect them to solve the problems alone. We cannot allow people to live with war and poverty, or to die trying to escape them.
Please make changes starting now to allow more refugees to share our country, our security and our wealth. Many Canadian citizens want to do this but we need official channels to open wide.
M. Jill Peacock, MD, CCFP
East Kootenay Friends of Burma, Rossland, BC