Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard greets a newly-arrived Syrian refugees at Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau international airport, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Syrian Refugees: Special Treatment
Not all refugees arriving in Canada have received the same welcome as the Syrians refugees who arrived beginning on Friday. If I could roll back history, newcomers would be spared lining up to receive their Social Insurance Number (called SIN) and their Health Insurance card. These are essential documents, but usually they are not readily available. One has to stand in line.
Our first group of Syrian refugees have been treated like VIPs (Very Important Persons). But all immigrants to Canada are very important persons. However, at the moment, there are individuals who would close the door to their country on Muslims as if all Muslims were terrorists.
Supplying official documents
I’m not involved personally in the welcoming process, but it would be my opinion that while welcoming refugees, Canada must be prudent, which is necessary. Civil servants (employees of the government), and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been working long hours. They therefore know who has arrived. Canada cannot presume that its refugees are dangerous, but it has to make sure its refugees and immigrants are peace-loving and law-abiding individuals. Four weeks ago, Paris was attacked.
Moreover, Canada must reassure its Muslim community. Many Muslins have been in Canada for a long time and are excellent citizens. They are above suspicion. Given such facts, we cannot and should not close our doors on Syrian refugees, but we have to be reasonably careful. That is the normal procedure.
I should point out that many refugees are privately-sponsored. In this respect, Canada’s Armenian community has been very generous and have inspired other Canadians. Moreover, we have a younger government. Our recently-elected Prime Minister has a great deal of energy and he is making Canadians feel optimistic. Our refugees are arriving during a period of enthusiasm. I believe those who were greeted by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard were addressed in Arabic. Dr Couillard spent four years in Saudi Arabia. He may not be fluent anymore but he knows Arabic.
Besides, there is a peace-making tradition dating back to Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, if not earlier. We are also a multicultural society living in a harsh climate. Margaret Atwood wrote a lovely book of poems, the Journals of Susanna Moodie (1970), in which she describes the bitter disappointment of immigrants recruited in Britain. They were told that they would be part of the upper classes in their new country, but found themselves walking in the mud.
Political cartoon from the 1880s: “In forty years I have lost, through the operation of no natural law, more than Three Million of my Sons and Daughters, and they, the Young and the Strong, leaving behind the Old and Infirm to weep and to die. Where is this to end?
My father’s great-grandmother came to Canada during the potato famine that devastated Ireland in the late 19th century. Many of Canada’s Irish immigrants arrived in Montreal. They were suffering from various contagious diseases but were nevertheless allowed off the boats and treated. They needed care and the population of Montreal rose to the challenge. These immigrants have become good Canadians.
Stop selling weapons to terrorists
To return to our Syrian refugees, another factor should be examined. Who is selling weapons to warring factions in the Middle East? The people who attacked Paris used Kalashnikovs. Where did they get these weapons and the bullets that killed 130 innocent people? Extremists are not easily discouraged. Selling weapons to any of them does not seem judicious. On the contrary, it seems somewhat reckless.
I realize that the War Industry is particularly lucrative. It transforms the rich into billionaires, but nations that make weapons and sell them to terrorist organizations may be complicit in genocides and may force a large number of people to leave their country. Is this an acceptable way of making a profit?
Ted Cruz on Guns
Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz says Americans need their guns.
“ Ted Cruz offered an impassioned defense of gun rights in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack on Friday, telling a crowd at an Iowa gun range, you don’t stop bad guys by taking away our guns, you stop bad guys by using our guns.” (my bold characters)
“The Second Amendment is about something very fundamental” Cruz said. “It’s about the God-given right of every single one of us to protect our home, our families and our lives.” (my bold characters)
The 2nd amendment, quoted below, fell into obsolescence when militias were formed.
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
One cannot shoot if one does not have a gun. There is a sense in which the National Rifle Association played a role in the San Bernardino massacre.
Who is selling weapons to Isis and Syrian rebels?
There can be no doubt that big nations are empowering Isis. So, “[w]here is this to end?” (See the image above.)
It begins with an attack; it is followed by a counter-attack (retaliation) and it may continue indefinitely, if weapons are available.
With kindest regards to everyone. ♥
See: Disasters of War
© Micheline Walker
14 December 2015
revised: 15 December 2015