CBC Forum

How do you think Canadian money is helping Syrian refugees? Your thoughts

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Canada has committed $969 million in assistance. How do you think Canadian money is helping Syrian refugees? You weighed in via CBC Forum.

In addition to bringing refugees here, Canada helps pay for aid delivered to Middle East

Syrian refugees receive aid packages at Al Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria last week. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)

Canadian money is not only helping to bring Syrian refugees to Canada, but also paying for humanitarian assistance to refugees in the Middle East. This includes providing food, blankets and clothes.

Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Canada has committed $969 million in assistance, which includes humanitarian aid inside Syria and funding to the countries hosting Syrian refugees. Jordan has received $411 million of that.

We asked you: How do you think Canadian money is helping Syrian refugees? Is it being allocated properly? Could it be better used somewhere else?

The discussion comes from an article by CBC News Middle East correspondent Derek Stoffel, who wrote about how Canadian money is helping on the ground there.

You weighed in via CBC Forum, our attempt to encourage a different kind of conversation on our website. Here's some of the best insights, thoughts and comments you contributed to the conversation.

Please note that usernames are not necessarily the names of commenters. Some comments have been altered to correct spelling and to conform to CBC style. Click on the username to see the comment in the blog format.

Many were insistent that Canadian needs should come first.

  • "We have communities right here in Canada that don't have drinking water or proper housing to live in. One billion [dollars] would go along way to fix our peoples issues than many/most Canadians would agree to supporting outside our country." — CanadianFirst
  • "​I think the responsibility of our government should be to take care of Canadians first. The people who worked a lifetime building this country and are now on Old Age Pension are living in poverty, being forced to choose between heating oil or medicines." — Lloyd Gardiner 
Canada's minister of international development Marie-Claude Bibeau shares a moment with a family of Syrian refugees in Jordan who are going to Canada. (Derek Stoffel/CBC)

Some chose to counter the Canadians come first argument.

  • "Nothing has prevented Canadians from helping Canadians prior to this, there has always been need at home, so my question, why haven't we done anything about it before now?" — Miss Scotland
  • "The money for Syria is well spent … There is no comparison between poverty here in Canada and what these people are experiencing in Syria. They are starving to death." — Hazlett
  • "There are so many ways Canada must support Syrians. In their country, in refugee camps and as refugees to Canada. Canada is an outstanding country built by immigrants and refugees. Comparing the taxes we pay to millions of people having bombs dropped in their cities is ridiculous." —Erika​

Others had alternate ideas for how Canada's humanitarian assistance could be better allocated.

  • "It would be a better idea to fund an independent Canadian Aid Program by the government rather than donate to the UN. That way those getting help will know it came from Canada." — afif
  • "Teach a man to fish idiom comes to mind. I don't want to be taxed dried giving fish to refugees. I would much rather be taxed once to give Syrians the fishing rod and knowledge to fish so that they can, themselves, fish without additional monetary intervention by us Canadians." Nepgear​

You can read the full CBC Forum live blog discussion on Canada's aid to Syria below.

Stay tuned to CBC News for continuing coverage of the refugee situation from on the ground in the Middle East via Derek Stoffel.

Can't see the discussion forum? Click here.