Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ottawa Must Do More to Help Toronto Welcome Refugees

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Ottawa Must Do More to Help Toronto Welcome Refugees

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Ottawa must do more to help Toronto welcome refugees


An editorial from the Toronto Star, published April 26:

Every second person who calls Toronto home was born outside of Canada. That's because this city has long welcomed the world, and it continues to do so amid a global migrant crisis.

The latest evidence of that is the $65 million the city has budgeted since 2017 to provide food and shelter for refugee claimants.

But Toronto can't be expected to carry the whole burden. This is a national issue, and Mayor John Tory is right to reach out to Ottawa for more help in handling a sudden upsurge in refugee claimants that is putting a big strain on the city's shelter system.

"We are committed to providing shelter and support to all those who need it," he said on Thursday. "But we can no longer do it alone."

It's high time the federal government lived up to its responsibilities in this area.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could not have been more clear that Canada would not follow the United States into a misguided retreat on immigration and refugees. "To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada," Trudeau famously tweeted in January of last year.

Unfortunately, he seems to think his job ended with laying out that big welcome mat.

The federal government hasn't produced a comprehensive plan, backed with funding, to make that sentiment a reality and ensure those who arrive here have what they need to succeed. Instead, they're lurching from crisis to crisis.

When Quebec asked Ottawa for a plan on how to manage the dramatic rise of refugee claimants crossing its border from New York state, the government came up with a plan that involves quickly moving many of the claimants to Ontario.

They're now arriving in Toronto. …

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