OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The NDP’s foreign affairs critic is calling for Canadians from all political stripes to band together in ending the Syrian refugee crisis.
Paul Dewar says the NDP will reach out to the Conservative government, asking it to adopt an “accelerated plan” to bring more than 46,000 government-sponsored refugees to Canada by 2019, including 10,000 by the end of this year.
The New Democrat plan would involve appointing a Syrian refugee co-ordinator as soon as possible to organize government and departmental resources to facilitate entry and settlement of refugees.
It would also include increasing the number of immigration agencies on the ground, expediting private sponsorships with no cap, providing health care and issuing temporary residence permits for Syrians staying with family.
Dewar says he isn’t sure how the government will respond, but that Canada can’t afford to wait until the federal election is over to start bringing in its share of refugees as outlined by the United Nations.
The Liberals, meanwhile, say a Liberal government would expand Canada’s intake to 25,000 refugees from Syria through immediate, direct sponsorship by the federal government.
Liberal foreign affairs critic Marc Garneau also says a Liberal government would invest at least an additional $100 million this fiscal year to increase refugee processing, sponsorship and settlement services in Canada.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has said Canada will accept 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next three years in response to the UN refugee agency’s global appeal to resettle 100,000 refugees worldwide.