John Tory joins fundraising effort to resettle Syrian refugees
Talking to mayors of Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Vancouver to help with refugee crisis
Toronto Mayor John Tory has joined efforts by a group of citizens aiming to raise $27,000 to help resettle Syrian refugees.
Tory says he got involved earlier this week.
"I got an email from a friend who said would I join such a group and provide financial support to make up the $27,000 that is the minimum required to help a satellite group of refugees here and I said 'Yes I would,'" Tory said.
The money is going to Lifeline Syria, a locally led organization committed to resettling refugees.
All it takes is a small group of people to get together and do something, Tory said.
According to rules set by the federal government, it takes $27,000 to resettle a refugee family.
"The money is a necessary element to make sure that settlement can happen," said Tory.
Tory's efforts come amid a global outcry after three-year-old Alan Kurdi was photographed deceased on a beach on the Mediterranean Sea. The boy drowned trying to escape Syria. The photo shocked people around the world.
"It's a sad state of affairs that it would take a picture that appeared in the newspaper, but it might galvanize people," said Tory.
"This is the Canadian way to respond. With an open heart."
'This is who we are'
Tory said he has had conversations with mayors across Canada to organize municipal action to help resettle Syrian refugees in Canadian cities. At his press conference on Friday he encouraged Toronto and cities across Canada to welcome Syrians displaced by conflict.
"As mayor of the most multicultural city, I believe we should mobilize to sponsor Syrian refugees. This is who we are as Canadians," he said earlier in the day.
"This will not happen by itself. It will happen when Torontonians step up."
Tory says he has spoken to his Ottawa counterpart Jim Watson about what can be done to help the situation. He has calls in to mayors of Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, as well.
Tory recalls the major Canadian effort to resettle Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
"I thought there was no reason whatsoever why we couldn't repeat that initiative," he said.
Tory also says he took action to add Syrian resettlement to the agenda of an upcoming conference of Canadian mayors.
- An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that John Tory had personally donated $27,000 to help resettle Syrian refugees. In fact, the Toronto mayor has joined a group of citizens raising that amount of money to help Lifeline Syria, a locally led organization committed to resettling refugees.Sep 04, 2015 9:26 PM ET