Monday September 07, 2015
Canada's history welcoming refugees is a myth, say critics
"Canada has always been a country that is open and welcoming and aware of our responsibilities on the world stage to ensure that everyone around the world has a chance." - Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, speaking on the campaign trail
The past week has seen the Syrian refugee crisis dominate national discussion, as well as the election campaign.
And many of those advocating for Canada to do more to help, point to a longstanding Canadian tradition of helping, and welcoming, refugees.
But today we're asking just what is reality and what is myth when it comes to Canada's history with refugees.
It's a subject Rachel Décoste has written about, as a contributor to The Huffington Post. She joined us from Washington, D.C.
The simple truth about Canada's history is that we're a nation of newcomers. But when it comes to refugees... the story gets complex.
To help us better understand just how Canada has acted during past refugee crises, we were joined by:
- Howard Adelman is a retired professor of philosophy and a founder of the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University. He was in our Toronto studio.
- Ali Kazimi is Chair of the Department of Cinema & Media Arts at York University and author of the book "Undesirables: White Canada and the Komagata Maru." He was in Ottawa.
We'd love to hear about your own experiences and memories, as a refugee or sponsor.
Send us an email. Post on Facebook or tweet us @TheCurrentCBC.
This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal and Marc Apollonio.
♦ The Racist Truth About Canadian Immigration - Huffington Post
♦ Canadians in the dark about immigration numbers: survey - Ottawa Citizen
♦ The Incident - Komagata Maru
Last Word: Basement Refugee
Last week, Bernie Duffy had a fleeting encounter with a refugee. He's a resident of Hamburg and was on his way to work one morning when he realized that a refugee had spent the night in his basement. The encounter has inspired him to become an active volunteer, helping the many people currently seeking refuge in Germany.
Read Bernie Duffy's story.