New Brunswick

Refugee crisis has New Brunswickers considering sponsorship

New Brunswickers interested in sponsoring Syrian refugees were at a meeting Thursday night in Saint John. It was the second information meeting in a week, with more than 40 people in attendance.

Interest in helping Syrian families growing

Over 40 people attending the meeting on refugee sponsorship in Saint John (CBC)

New Brunswicker's interested in sponsoring Syrian refugees were at a meeting Thursday night in Saint John.

There's been an outpouring of interest ever since the image of a drowned young boy caught the world's attention.

David Turner, an Anglican minister from Hampton,went to the meeting to get information on how his church members and community could help in the refugee crisis.

He thinks it's through sponsorship.

Anglican minster David Turner of Hampton (CBC)

"It has presented to us the clearest way to respond to violent conflict in parts of the world, over which it can feel like we have very little control or ability to respond," he said. "But when it comes to offering people a place they can be safe, that's something we can do."

The meeting offered information on how to apply to sponsor a family, and what obligations come with that application.

It's the second public information meeting held in the past week by Newcomer Connections: The Centre Immigrant Settlement Services office at the YMCA in Saint John. Each meeting has attracted more than 40 people.

The Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches also helped host the meeting, and has a sponsorship agreement in place with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

Paul Carline with the Convention said all efforts are being made to help more groups sponsor refugees as quickly as possible.

"Right now we are selecting about one family a week for sponsorship," said Carline, "and before this we were doing one family a year."

Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau has already said he will follow through on his campaign pledge to increase the number of Syrian refugees coming to Canada from 10,000 to 25,000 by the end of the year. 

The private sponsorship program runs separately to the federal government's Resettlement Assistance Program.