Friday, 8 April 2016

URGENT: Please tell your Liberal MP before Monday that the government needs to continue its support for Syrian refugees

As you may have read in the newspapers, it has become apparent to Private Sponsorship groups that the Canadian Government is pulling back in its support for Syrian Refugees now that they have met their election promise.

Yesterday the Ripple Refugee Group's chair Andrew FitzGerald, along with former Toronto mayor John Sewell and two other representatives from Private Sponsorship groups, had a private meeting with Immigration Minister McCallum in order to encourage continued Canadian government prioritization for the Private Sponsorship program for Syrian Refugees.

As there is a Liberal Party caucus meeting early next week to review their overall commitment to the Syrian refugee crisis, we encourage all of you to write to your local Liberal MP (you can find contact details for your MP here) copying Immigration Minister McCallum (email: to emphasize your strong support for continued focus on Syrian Refugees initiatives.

In particular, we want to communicate that 

1) We don't agree with the Government that any new applications, even if they are fully paid for and settled by private sponsorship groups, should be subject to overall refugee caps and be processed in the normal 24 - 42 month time frame.   This is an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and we have mobilized and privately-funded citizen groups ready to help out - lets not waste that resource!  

If this becomes government policy, as it looks likely to happen, then thousands of Private Sponsorship groups who have raised money and made preparations to settle Syrian families will have to wait several years or more before their applications are processed. 

2) Domestic and overseas immigration staffing resources should be restored to Feb. 2016 

levels to expedite the arrival of already approved Syrian refugee families to Canada.  Waiting until the end of 2016, or early 2017, as the government has indicated is the new timeline, for those whose applications are already in process puts the refugee families in danger given their precarious overseas living arrangements. 

We are at a turning point in this nation-wide, grassroots humanitarian project - but without government support it will all come to naught.  

Please do communicate with your Liberal MP and Minister McCallum as soon as possible to convey your strong support for this historical grassroots humanitarian initiative that Private Sponsorship groups represent.


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