This time last year Canada began ‘welcoming’ thousands of Syrian refugees who were flying in by the planeload as the young new Prime Minister had promised when he was elected weeks before. As a result, Justin Trudeau became the darling of the world’s humanitarians who were clamoring for America to do the same!
Now, one year on, my alerts today are filled with stories like these—panic sets in as one year of government support ends and Syrians can’t find jobs to support their families!
From The Star:
Bedrettin Al Muhamad and his wife, Mariam [featured family—ed] have been taking English classes and making every effort to immerse themselves in Canadian culture since arriving here from Turkey in February.
But the honeymoon will soon be over, as the Mississauga couple ponders quitting their English classes and starting to look for jobs to support their five children, Hanan, 13; Hasan, 11; Azzam, 9; Mohammad, 8; and Rahaf, 6.
“We are scared we are not going to find jobs. It’s a cause of stress. How are we going to pay for our ($1,735) rent when money stops coming in?” asked Al Muhamad, 37, whose family’s monthly government refugee resettlement assistance ends on Feb. 12.
For many of the 35,000 Syrians who have arrived in the country — 15,000 in Ontario — since Canada started bringing in planeloads of newcomers last Dec. 9, what is commonly known in the refugee resettlement circle as “Month 13” is looming.
After a year of being warmly welcomed into local communities across the country, the 12-month financial commitment to these refugees by Ottawa and private sponsorship groups will start to come to an end.
And, here is another story (with another featured family) from The Guardian:
Canada had previously granted asylum to a small number of Syrian refugees. But one year ago this week, 163 Syrian refugees were greeted at the airport by Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, in scenes that contrasted sharply with the hostile rhetoric emanating from some US politicians, including then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Thousands more refugees would arrive in Canada the following months, supported either by the federal government or by private citizens who committed to covering their expenses for their first year in Canada.
But the one-year mark means an end to the monthly living allowance from the government that has, along with food banks and donations, sustained their new lives. From February onwards, the family must either support themselves – a seemingly monumental task considering the parents’ search for jobs have so far been fruitless – or enroll in the province’s social assistance program, in which they would likely receive less of an allowance than what they’re currently receiving.
“All the Syrians say the same thing, we’re worried about what happens after one year. We don’t know. With no stipend, how are we going to live?” Alsakni said through a translator. “It’s like we’re blindfolded. We don’t know what is coming. [This is the mother in the family speaking, she is the only adult in the family to begin to learn English, but she still needs a translator!—ed]
There are many more stories like this in my alerts today.
It is a good thing we have Germany and Canada as models for what NOT to do about Syrian refugees!
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