Welcoming refugees is life-giving

As a Canadian, my family story is far from unique. We have a heritage of “welcoming the stranger”—the immigrant and refugee, writes Rich Janzen, co-director of the Centre for Community Research, a non-profit organization affiliated with St. Paul’s University College at the University of Waterloo. His comments appeared in an op-ed piece in the Waterloo Region Record on Sept. 15, 2015. “True,” he continues, “there are glaring examples of how we failed miserably in being hospitable. But it is equally true that we have a tradition of welcome that is internationally recognized. Government, faith groups, service providers and citizens alike have shared in building this reputation. Unfortunately, our government’s refugee resolve seems to have slipped of late. Twenty-five years ago, 19 per cent of immigrants came from the refugee class. Today that percentage is about nine.” Janzen continues, “The United Nations estimates that the world today has 15 million refugees who have fled their homeland. Last year, Canada accepted a fraction of these—about 23,000. In the early 1990s, that number was roughly doubled.”

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