HUMANITY cannot stride into a bright future, if we leave the innocent behind in a dark past…” Canada is a country built by people from all corners of the world. Our history is short in comparison to some civilizations. Yet our country forges paths for all around the globe. Yes, we are a nation built by immigrants and refugees. When some say enough is enough, they forget their own past and lineage. Humanity has always been a nomadic species, moving from region to region to find a better and safer home. The human migrations are so intertwined historically that we may be living in different continents but can possibly all claim the tip of Africa to be our home.
So here we are in 2015, the so-called modernised and liberal world. A global economy where money has more value than human life. Is it land we afraid is not plentiful? Canada is the second-largest county in the world. Canada has 6.7% of the land mass on earth and Syria has 0.12%. So to say we do not have room doesn’t seem to add up.
In terms of wealth, for a small population of 35 million, we are the 11th wealthiest county in the world. Syria is a country of 23 million and ranks 77th in the list. Mexico City has 22 million and Los Angeles 20 million, in comparison. These stats are just numbers, yet they highlight the enough room we have and our ability to open our doors to others. Fear is the reason most reject refugees, and this is understandable on many counts. But Canada has never been fearful of the future or of taking a leadership to help others. We, after all, are the stormtroopers, the voyageurs, peacekeepers and pioneers. I know my ancestors left Europe broke on a ship for an unknown land that held promise.
As war broke out in America, they fled to Canada to seek a safe haven and better future. In Upper Canada, they worked for pennies and dug the Rideau Canal with shovels. The history and stories of migration to Canada are so impressive. They truly bind us together and define us as Canadian. Our culture is an open culture, a culture of being the better country even if it means putting ourselves at risk. We should open our doors to the Syrian refugees and embrace them as we would a new neighbour.
Yes, there will be some who will have ill intentions towards our way of life. But then we have such people among us even now who try to undermine our country everyday. Moreover, the fact is more people have perished due to starvation, drugs, and economic hardship than attacks on Canadian soil. I know it is a difficult task for the government to organize rehabilitation of refugees at such a large scale but it has been done before. This also won’t be the last time as the world changes economically, environmentally and politically. I could give you a lot of information to convince you it is the right thing to embrace Syrian refugees. That Syria is generally a well-educated middle-class country which was a safe haven for the people in the Middle East until the civil war broke out. That one of the founders of Apple, Steve Jobs, was of Syrian decent. Damascus is among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Syria has had a multi-cultural environment as approximately 40% of the population is non-Muslim. Many educated Syrians speak English and French.
There is another argument. God forbid, but if tomorrow there is a civil war again in America, would we close our borders to those in need?
We hear of shortage of people to employ in all corners of the economy, maybe we should open up the Homestead Act again for northern Canada. Or do we only have to accept new immigrants who are wealthy?