Sunday September 06, 2015

Should Canada open its doors wider to take in more refugees?

Migrants wave their train tickets and lift up children outside the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest, Hungary, September 1, 2015. The issue of what Canada should do to help alleviate the crisis of refugees and other desperate migrants in Europe was raised on the campaign trail in Canada Wednesday.

Migrants wave their train tickets and lift up children outside the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest, Hungary, September 1, 2015. The issue of what Canada should do to help alleviate the crisis of refugees and other desperate migrants in Europe was raised on the campaign trail in Canada Wednesday. (Reuters/Laszlo Balogh)

Listen to Full Episode 1:52:40

The drowned body of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach this week has become a symbol of the global migrant crisis. Should Canada open its doors wider to take in more refugees?


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INTRODUCTION

There can be few around the world who have not seen the heart rending picture of the three year old Syrian boy, Alan Kurdi face down on  a sandy beach on the Turkish coast drowned after the boat he was in capsized.

It is an image that this week became a symbol of the migrant crisis that has seen millions on the move, fleeing war in Syria and Iraq. And escaping persecution, conflict and destroyed economies in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sudan, Somalia and other vulnerable countries.

Alan Kurdi's story is particularly poignant here in Canada because his aunt, who lives in British Columbia, was trying to find a way to one day bring that branch of the family to join her.

The story dominated the election campaign this week - and all the party leaders have been reflecting on the part Canada has to play in responding to the global refugee crisis.

Today we want to hear from you - What can be done to cope with the pressing needs of the world's millions of migrants who are on the move and in search of a better life?

Four million people from Syria alone, that's nearly a fifth of that country's population, have fled since the war began in 2011.

On Friday the head of the UN refugee agency urged for a "mass relocation program" for refugees now camped out in European railway stations and ports, marching along highways and crammed into rickety boats in the Mediterranean.

Should Canada be doing more to help?

A poll this week shows that most Canadians think that Canada should do more - but some are uncertain about the economic burden this will bring. Today we want to hear your thoughts.

What is the role of private sponsorship in all this? The immigration Minister Chris Alexander today called on private sponsors across the country "to come together as Canadians and do one of the things this country does best which is to resettle refugees from dangerous places."

Our question today: "Should Canada open its doors wider to take in more refugees?"

I'm Andrew Nichols on CBC Radio One and on Sirius XM, satellite radio channel 169 this is Cross Country Checkup.


GUESTS

Margaret Evans
CBC Europe correspondent
Twitter: @mevansCBC

John Ivison
Political columnist for the National Post based in Ottawa
Twitter: @IvisonJ

Faisal Alazem
Director of the Syrian-Canadian Council in Montreal, and the co-founder of the Syrian Kids Foundation
Twitter: @syrian_kids

Martin Collacott
Former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the former Ambassador to Syria, Lebanon and Cambodia.

Naomi Alboim
Adjunct professor with the School of Policy Studies at Queen's University. and former head of federal refugee resettlement programs for the region of Ontario.


LINKS

CBC.ca


National Post


Globe and Mail


New York Times


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