The Anglican diocese of British Columbia has called on the government of Canada to increase its targets for refugee resettlement to allow at least 7,000 more refugees to enter the country this year.
statement, the diocese noted that Canada has set a target for 25,000
refugees to be resettled in 2017, compared to the previous year’s target
The statement said there was an “unprecedented need for refugee
resettlement” in the wake of a U.S. government executive order
suspending refugee admissions for 120 days and it appealed to the
government to “continue to show leadership” in refugee resettlement: “We
recognize that we cannot fill the vacuum the U.S. government has left,
but we must do what we can” the statement said.
Canada operates a private sponsorship programme in which both major
organisations and smaller groups can offer to take responsibility for
refugees entering the country.
Quoting official statistics, the statement noted that government
assistance to refugees has undergone a “significant decline” this year
compared to last. Of the 25,000 refugees to be resettled in Canada, the
government plans to sponsor 7,500, with the bulk of the remainder being
sponsored privately; Canada’s private sponsorship programme relies on
both major organizations and smaller groups to take responsibility for
refugees entering the country and providing for their needs for their
initial months in the country.
The statement calls on Canada to increase resettlement efforts so
that in 2017, government and BVOR refugee sponsorships (a programme
that combines government and private sponsorship) are “at least equal
to” the number of privately sponsored refugees.
The diocese of British Columbia said it was currently sponsoring 268
refugees, an effort being supported by “over 500” volunteers. This
includes a partnership with the Islamic Centre of Nanaimo and Mosque
Al-Iman in Victoria that has focused on supporting Muslim refugees.
The statement also denounced the attack in late January on a Quebec
City mosque that left six worshippers dead, and expressed “outrage” at
the U.S. executive order, which, in addition to suspending refugee
admissions, temporarily bans entry to the U.S. for citizens of Sudan,
Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Iran and Libya.