UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

September 18, 2015 15:19 ET

UFCW Canada leader calls on Stephen Harper to take real action on Syria refugee crisis

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 18, 2015) - OPEN LETTER FROM UFCW CANADA NATIONAL PRESIDENT PAUL MEINEMA TO PRIME MINISTER STEPHEN HARPER:

Dear Prime Minister:

I am writing to ask you to set aside fear-mongering and partisan politics, and instead turn your attention to properly address the humanitarian crisis faced by Syrian refugees desperate for a safe place to bring themselves and their families.

Canadians are a compassionate and generous people whose best intentions have been blocked by your government's cold-hearted response to even meeting its own targets in providing sanctuary to those caught in the Syrian crisis. While your government has been juggling numbers, it is lives that are at stake in a callous calculation that has choked the route to Canada through needless red tape and the failure to provide adequate staffing to process the applications of refugees and the groups who have offered to sponsor them.

There is no question that every delay by your government directly endangers the lives of Syrian refugees who have appealed to Canada. Security clearance and visa processing are not legitimate excuses, but are logistical issues that can and must be addressed in an accelerated manner. Previous governments have done so by applying political will and adequate resources. Instead, the goodwill of Canadians has been thwarted by your government's warnings of the expense to the treasury, and the possibility of terrorist infiltration.

The fear-mongering must end. This is not a budget issue. It is not a terrorist issue. It is a life and death issue that must be answered now, starting with your government's action to immediately sponsor and provide the resources for a minimum of 10,000 Syrian refugees to be re-settled in Canada. The red tape blockade of private sponsoring groups in Canada must also end by streamlining the documentation process, and by sincerely committing your government to facilitate the process with vigour.

Canadians, the labour movement, and communities from coast to coast have shown they are ready to help, and look to your government to support these humanitarian efforts without further delay.

Sincerely,

Paul R. Meinema, National President

UFCW Canada

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