PM’s tone-deaf response to the refugee crisis shows he is out of touch with who and what Canada is
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has advocated for staying the Conservative course despite a public cry for a more generous response to the refugee crisis.
Except for First Nations, we are a country made up of immigrants. That’s why it matters how we treat refugees. Whether we came to Canada as victims of war or seekers of a better life, we have a vested interest in whom the country does and doesn’t accept.
As the refugee crisis has made painfully clear, Canada, or at least its Prime Minister, remain untouched by the migrant onslaught. We have a plan, Stephen Harper tells us, and we’re sticking to it.
To do otherwise, he says, is to succumb to emotion. Yes, of course, he has seen the pictures of dead children washing up on a beach, and his heart bled, too. But that’s no reason to change immigration policy. If anything, the PM argues, the crisis is a reason to intensify the war against ISIS.
As Harper likes to tell us, you’ve got to be tough to be the prime minister. In fact, according to him, you’ve got to be one nasty SOB. Even the leaders of this middling nation must be willing to make hard choices.
Mostly, though, the PM has to be willing to say no to Canadians. Whether the issue is pensions, the environment, healthcare or refugees, responsible leaders must have the strength to say no when necessary, which in Harper’s case is most of the time. To do anything but “stay the course” would be weakness, and there’s no place in this world for weakness.
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Mayor Naheed Nenshi, pictured on June 29, 2015 at Calgary City Hall. Coleen De Neve / Calgary Herald
Mayor Naheed Nenshi blasted the federal Conservative government Thursday for its handling of the Syrian refugee crisis, which has been symbolized in the media around the world by the image of a drowned three-year-old boy.
“We’re a country of generosity and we’re a country of opportunity,” Nenshi said, according to CBC News. “The fact that we have not even taken the Syrian refugees that we have committed to take, let alone taking many more people who are fleeing the most desperate situation only looking for opportunity in the world, to me is a disgrace.”
Alan Kurdi, a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body was photographed on a Turkish beach, was with family in a small boat attempting to reach Greece when the vessel capsized, killing him, his brother and his mother, among other refugees.