Canada’s Prime Minister Gives World Politicians A Lesson In Compassion; Personally Greets Syrian Refugees At Airport
While the war against the Islamic State in Syria wages on, and the refugee crisis progressively worsens, so does the frenetic, never-ending, all-consuming circus show that is western politics and media. It’s the same old performance: Donald Trump spews out some hateful, racist bile and demands all Muslims be banned from America (but in a beautiful twist of irony, 540,781 signatories demand he be banned from the United Kingdom); Tony Abbott waffles on about Islam needing to reform, and says “all cultures are not equal” (but in a beautiful twist of irony, nobody cares).
But where these neoconservative, old, white men continue to refuse to get in the bin, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is turning up to personally greet Syrian refugees arriving in his country.
Welcome to Canada. pic.twitter.com/xEOn44GjJF
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 11, 2015
Alongside both government and opposition MPs, Trudeau welcomed 163 Syrian refugees — the first of 25,000 he hopes to resettle over the next three months — when they landed in Toronto overnight.
The arrivals weren’t just state funded either — privately sponsored Syrian refugees also arrived via commercial flights the same night. Individual sponsors or groups had to raise over AU$28,300 for each family.
“This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” said the prime minister, who has committed to resettling 10,000 by the end of the year and a further 15,000 by March.
— mia farrow (@MiaFarrow) December 11, 2015
In this increasingly nasty and inhumane world, watching Justin Trudeau welcome Syrian refugees to Canada brought a lump to my throat.
— Douglas Henshall (@djhenshall) December 11, 2015
@JustinTrudeau Thank you, Mr. Prime Minister, for showing the world how countries should be responding to this crisis…
— blaine wasylkiw (@BWasylkiw) December 11, 2015
“You are home,” Trudeau said to the passengers as they disembarked the military craft. “You’re safe at home now.”
Now compare that to Australia, where so far just one Syrian family has been resettled (brought here sooner only due to the mother being seven months pregnant), and a vague promise predicts the resettlement program will “pick up speed” around January or February. Cool story.
After the attacks in Paris last month, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton — noted refugee advocate and representative — said the government isn’t going to “rush” processing the 12,000 refugees Australia plans to accept, and is “stringently” applying security checks.
“If the program time is blown out, it’s blown out because we want to make sure we can be assured as to who is coming to our country and the government is not going to step back from that position,” Dutton said.
“It’s a different situation for us because we’ve got… an island nation, we don’t have the land borders that some European countries do.
“But it is absolutely essential, we must know whether they come by air, or whether they come by boat, who’s coming across our borders, in and out and we need to continue that strong stance and I think people recognise that.”
If Dutton’s language sounds like the polar opposite of Trudeau’s, that’s because it is; and his pale, slow-moving efforts don’t look any better. But perhaps he and the rest of the world’s leaders will take note of their Canadian counterparts’ actions, or at least the hugely positive publicity they are producing.
While you wait though, you might find some momentary relief in knowing there are a bunch of adorable kids in Canada wholeheartedly welcoming their new Syrian peers right now.
And if that didn’t work, just jump on the #WelcomeToCanada love-train.
to feel better about the world, type #WelcomeToCanada into twitter search. scroll.
— Katie Mingle (@katiemingle) December 11, 2015