Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: An Opportunity on P.E.I. Today to Change Stephen Harper's Mind on Refugees

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: An Opportunity on P.E.I. Today to Change Stephen Harper's Mind on Refugees

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: An opportunity on P.E.I. today to change Stephen Harper's mind on refugees

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An editorial from the Charlottetown Guardian, published Sept. 11:

The photo of the little boy whose body washed ashore on a Turkish beach last week changed the course of history as the world recoiled in horror to the plight of refugees pouring out of Syria. The toddler, along with a young brother and their mother, drowned when their craft foundered trying to leave Turkey for a Greek island and then onward to Canada - seeking peace and a chance to start a new life - far away from the endless bombings and killings in their homeland.

Like Maitland MacIsaac of Charlottetown, who eloquently expressed his reaction in a commentary this week, many people broke down and wept when they saw that photo of the dead toddler on the beach. Many governments have reacted with compassion to the photos - Germany, Austria, England and Australia, to name a few. Sadly, Canada is not one of them.

Until last week, many countries had ignored or were immune to the growing tragedy engulfing the Middle East as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the region for Western Europe and points beyond. Unfortunately, one of those points beyond isn't Canada.

The man who can change that unfortunate reality is in P.E.I. today. When Conservative supporters crowd into campaign venues in Malpeque and Charlottetown, they could use the opportunity to tell the PM that Canada should do more for these refugees; that there isn't a moment to spare to save more lives. We don't have time for lengthy processing, detailed sponsorships and neat and tidy paperwork. For many, it's an immediate life and death situation.

Today, the PM must be reminded that various P.E.I. groups, churches and families have been trying for many months to sponsor refugees from Iraq and Syria. They have encountered endless red tape and bureaucratic roadblocks.

Mr. Harper has ruled out airlifts from the Syrian exodus and seemed obsessed with extensive and lengthy security clearances. Is he suggesting that people risking everything to escape war zones are potential Islamic terrorists, instead of potential, valuable new citizens in a country where provinces are ready to welcome them? …

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