'We'll do our part': Sask. premier Brad Wall on Syrian refugee crisis
Province has asked federal government to send more refugees to Saskatchewan
The government of Saskatchewan says the province is willing to accept additional refugees from Syria.
"We've told the federal government that Saskatchewan can and will support more refugees in our province to assist with the ongoing crisis," Premier Brad Wall said in a post on his Facebook account Friday. "We're going to work closely with all levels of government on how our province can help these families in their time of need."
Wall also used social media, including Twitter, to express support for all refugees fleeing war.
"As a people and a government, Saskatchewan will do its part for those fleeing war and tyranny for safe asylum," he said.
SK can support more refugees. As a people & govt we will do our part for those fleeing war, tyranny for safe asylum: <a href="https://t.co/tzfdPPwdMw">https://t.co/tzfdPPwdMw</a>—@PremierBradWall
Wall also provided suggestions on how people could help organizations that work with refugees, including churches, church-related groups and non-profit organizations such as the Regina Open Door Society, the Saskatoon Refugee Coalition, the Prince Albert YWCA and the Southwest Newcomer Welcome Centre in Swift Current.
According to provincial officials, Saskatchewan asked the federal government — a month ago — to increase the number of refugees coming to Saskatchewan by 15 per cent. Last year about 500 refugees came to Saskatchewan.
"We didn't put an announcement out or we didn't do it with a bunch of fanfare," Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan's minister for immigration, said Friday. "We did it because it's the right thing to do."
Harrison said more money would be spent by the province providing health care, language training and general resettlement services for the additional people. He added that most of the refugees coming to Saskatchewan are from Iraq, although he expects more Syrians to be coming to the province.
Cam Broten, leader of the Official Opposition NDP in Saskatchewan, suggested the province provide matching funds when people make donations to local refugee support agencies.
"I'm hopeful," Broten said. "It's impossible to see these images and see these stories and not be affected. And I think, as I've spoken to people in the community, there are those that want to help, and I think we can do this."
Broten noted Saskatchewan has made matching donations on specific initiatives in the past.
"We've contributed in other instances, to Ukraine, Nepal, Haiti, the Philippines, when we've seen disasters, often natural disasters. Well, this is a man-made disaster," he said.
Other provinces have also made announcements about support for refugees.