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Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ontario Lib Gov. will spend $10M to bring Syrian refugees to province.

Ontario Lib Gov. will spend $10M to bring Syrian refugees to province. (TheStar).

Ontario will spend $10.5 million to open the province’s doors to 10,000 Syrian refugees, the Star has learned. Premier Kathleen Wynne, who will make an official announcement on Saturday at the COSTI office on College Street, said “the desperate situation” had been building for months.

“So to see this child, it was tragic and hard not relate to your own children, to relate to your own grandchildren,” Wynne said in an interview here Friday, referring to the images of drowned toddler Alan Kurdi, which have shocked the world and spurred calls for action. “There are moments in political life where you just think this is not good enough. We have to now do more. We have to push the system, because the system’s clearly not working.”

Sources say the Ontario government needs Ottawa to expedite the arrival of the refugees while helping to ensure security is kept tight enough so that no terrorists slip into the country.

Likening the humanitarian crisis to a natural disaster, like a tsunami or a flood or a huge forest fire, Wynne said public officials “have to go above and beyond” because exceptional circumstances demand it.

To that end, senior government officials confide that the premier will earmark $8.5 million to help bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to Ontario over the next two years.

That’s money from a new fund that will “backstop” churches, non-governmental organizations, and charities in their efforts to sponsor refugees.

The province cannot directly sponsor refugees under the current process, but Queen’s Park is hopeful that guaranteeing the funding will prove to the federal government that Ontario has “the capacity” to accept more newcomers.

At the same time, Ontario will immediately donate $1 million each to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Program for relief efforts overseas.(See pic at top of post).

The $10.5 million is in addition to the $330,000 that Queen’s Park has already committed to Lifeline Syria, the Toronto organization that is helping resettle refugees.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has said Canada will accept 10,000 more refugees over four years in addition to an earlier commitment to help 11,300 people. Canada welcomes around 14,000 refugees annually from around the world.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair has pledge to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees within two months of the election. The NDP has promised to help resettle 46,000 Syrians in Canada over four years.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau wants to immediately accept 25,000 refugees.

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, meanwhile, has earmarked $1 million to assist around 1,000 refugees. Hmmmm.....So the premier is 'sponsoring the food for coming refugees' she did not mention that in her interview. Seems like Wynne is pretty sure the Liberals will win the coming 'rigged?' election. Read the full story here.

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