Welcoming the Syrian Refugees

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I recall the feeling of crippling responsibility, the sense of vulnerability, the revelation that I was responsible for a tiny life. Until I became pregnant and began to feel the awareness of the life growing within my belly, I could not have known the sudden susceptibility to a host of fears and worries that would weigh upon me.

I recall all of that: the concern, the love, the distress. These are the emotions of the young parent. In a life-changing moment, one is granted the knowledge that babies might be cute or troublesome — depending on your perspective — but they are also an enormous burden. I don’t mean that in a negative way, rather as a statement of fact. They are vulnerable and, suddenly, so are you.

After heavy criticism for his promise to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada, Justin Trudeau now walks on glass because of the government’s compromise to limit Canada’s Syrian refugee plan to women, children and families. Well, you can’t please everyone.

To my mind, Trudeau’s solution to the fear-based paranoia that we’ve seen these last few months, and in particular since the Paris attacks, is smart. Some might see it as pandering to the right, and yes, it is a compromise, but as with all compromises, you give something and you gain something else. While many fear 25,000 refugees are more than Canada can manage, it is a proverbial drop in the bucket. Compare that to Germany’s 800,000. We will be helping a few people, and I’m glad of that, but there will be many who will still remain homeless. So we’re not solving the Syrian hostage crisis, but we are helping some Syrians.

The government’s decision to limit the refugee demographic is indeed expedient, but it also speaks to the incredible vulnerability of these particular individuals. Not only are they refugees, but they are the most helpless, the most defenseless segment of those affected by this crisis: women, children and parents. They are the vulnerable ones.

So let’s do this. Let’s open our country to these children and their families. Instead of finding fault with Trudeau’s compromise, let’s move forward. You can’t please all of the electorate all of the time, but we can give sanctuary to a few good people.

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