You are on page 1of 9

Megan Bravo

Socials 11

Term Paper – Socials 11
In comparison to the history of Canada’s response to previous refugee crises, to what extent does
their response to the current Syrian refugee crisis embody the welcoming Canadian identity?
In March 2011, the uprising of the Syrian civil war began, leaving millions of innocent
citizens of the country to be caught in the midst of an ongoing conflict. The war has so far
injured thousands and caused the deaths of over 250,000 people and these dangers have forced
an estimated 9 million Syrians to flee their own country and seek refuge in others, including
Canada. Canada has a long history of responding to refugee crises, including a few poor
reactions but also many inviting responses, but the country’s reputation of being a nation of
friendliness and warm welcomes is based upon this history. The Canadian government, with the
support of the citizens, have worked hard and continue to do so to accommodate those affected
by the Syrian crisis in order to restore the hope for their futures, especially for the families,
children and single women, by welcoming them into Canada. The eagerness to help that the
majority of Canadians have shown towards the Syrian refugees embodies the national identity of
being a country of welcoming attitudes and the diverse nature of the nation. Through comparing
the historical Canadian experiences dealing with refugees to the current response of the refugees
from Syria, the country’s improvement is evident as they continue to strive towards maintaining
this identity.
Canada’s history regarding previous refugee crises is what the current country’s
welcoming identity is based upon. The country of today is considered a ‘safe haven’ for the
oppressed and a nation of acceptance and diversity. Throughout the 1900’s into the 2000’s, their
responses have significantly improved towards greeting all in need of homes and accommodating

the government responded poorly to refugee crises and excluded specific racial or religious groups due to the rising racist ideas amongst the citizens at the time. they were forced to return to Europe and most of the passengers were detained in Nazi concentration camps leading to their deaths. people of colour didn’t receive the acceptance that Canadians are known for today as the government excluded many from settlement after implementing an Order in Council that specifically omitted immigrants of any Asiatic race. These previous incidences have left a permanent scar upon Canada’s reputation.000 refugees during his reign in Germany. Panama and Canada. In the earlier years of Canadian history. . leading to the country’s decision of refusal of these refugees. Due to these strict limitations. The ship was full of Jews attempting to escape Hitler’s anti-Semitism government but due to being rejected by Cuba.Megan Bravo Socials 11 them into their country. Despite the country’s current diverse population. During this period. Out of the 800. however their responses have improved along the years as towards the end of the 1900’s. the anti-Semitism movement arose in Canada among the public and the government. including those fleeing from the Hungarian Anti-Soviet revolution. Paraguay. only the low amount of 1. Current Canadian citizen.000 Jews that were seeking refuge from the oppression they received from Hitler’s dictatorship. because of popular opinion. Another example of a poor response towards refugees seeking resettlement was against the Jews aboard the St Louis ship in 1938 preceding the Second World War. Canada only took in 4. Argentina.300 Armenians were accepted to resettle into the country between the World Wars. Armenians were placed in this category and those that were seeking new homes from the dangers in Turkey were refused admittance. United States. Placing this law against immigrants of a specific race shows harsh discrimination which opposes the Canadian culture of equality and acceptance of everyone. including all ethnicities. the government became more welcoming and accepted a higher amount of refugees.

“honours extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced. Chris Alexander. is what led towards the warm welcome they have shown and continue to do so to the Syrians who have arrived or are in the process of approval. the Conservative government. “Canada has a history of welcoming those seeking refuge. announced that the party decided that the 10. Compared to their responses to the refugees in the early 1900’s.000 refugees expected to arrive by 2018. but this exception shows the Canadian citizens’ extraordinary unity towards helping refugees. are to be settled in Canada by September 2016. represented by the country’s Immigration Minister at the time. Prior to the October federal election of 2015. They were focused on mainly helping Syrians that have been persecuted due . He described how eager and willing the government was to accommodate them into their country.Megan Bravo Socials 11 Frank Palmay shared his personal experience in a The Star news article of fleeing Hungary as a young boy and settling into Canada with his family. They. with the leadership of the government. in turn. the people of Canada received the Nansen Award. which according to the UN Refugee Agency website. The government of Canada has shown immense hard work towards resettling as many possible Syrians into the country ever since the power went to the Liberals from the hands of the Conservatives. The growing improvement regarding refugee crises among Canadians.” as he praises the country’s efforts towards helping refugees. Palmay says. In 1986.” Canada is the only country to be honoured with this award as it is usually given to an individual or group. Canada and Venezuela were the only two countries accepting refugees at this time and Palmay says he’s “forever grateful” for his parents’ decision of choosing to settle in Canada. have helped to build Canada into a highly regarded and admired nation. Canada’s achievements of this award towards the end of the centennial demonstrate their progression as a nation from previous incidents.” because of the country’s “constant contribution to the cause of refugees within their country and around the world.

both gave gifts of winter jackets.000 Syrians about a month and a half away from their promised date of 25. Along with Ontario Premier. the party kept their promise of allowing 25. The government showed an increase of eagerness and willingness to reach out to the Syrian refugees in the midst of the conflict when the Liberals gained political power. but the Liberals admitted this wasn’t possible and extended their plan to February 29. On November 9. 2015. including the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself single-handedly welcoming the first group of refugees at the Toronto Pearson airport on the night of December 10. this will enable “all security and medical screening to be completed abroad and will allow refugees to arrive in Canada as Permanent Canadian Residents. Although the plan had been lengthened. won by majority government of the Liberals. Kathleen Wynne.000 Syrian refugees who have arrived in Canada. the government created a new committee. with the goal of fulfilling their promise of settling 25. consisting of nine Cabinet ministers. overall dealing with approximately 31. the government officials have also shown sincere hospitality as the Syrians arrived in Canada.Megan Bravo Socials 11 to religion.000 Syrian refugees to settle into Canada with financial and security aid. 2015.500 with applications in progress. there have been roughly around 11.500 with finalized refugee applications and 14. they personally have shown genuine care and hospitality towards the refugees through their personal . this specific and therefore limited group of people demonstrating the party’s discrimination against those that aren’t religious or oppressed because of it.000 Syrian refugees into Canada. As well as putting their plan into action by fulfilling their promises internationally. As well as enforcing and fulfilling their plans. previously held by the Conservatives. snow pants and even teddy bears for the young children. However this was promised to be taken place by the end of 2015. After the October federal election in 2015. 5.” as explained by the organization of Lifeline Syria. As of January 14 in early 2016.000 Syrian refugee resettlements in Canada. 2016.

#WelcomeRefugees. Canada has committed over $969 million in humanitarian. This positive response embodies Canadian identity of a welcoming country. 2016 on the streets of Vancouver as a group of refugees were pepper sprayed by an unknown individual biking past them. The level of engagement the government displays and their enthusiasm to help the Syrian refugees sets an example to not only the Canadian citizens. The victims of the attack have . but also to other countries around the world. clear through the invitation to the Syrians in need. especially for the children and growing families. there have been negative attitudes that have risen but these are treated as an individual’s outlook rather than the nation’s stand towards the refugees. The Canadian citizens have shown a welcoming response through social media. An individual hate crime that occurred was a recent attack on the night of January 8. Canadians have outstretched many helping hands in order to provide assistance to the Syrian people and help change their future.Megan Bravo Socials 11 greetings.” tweeted by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on behalf of himself and the citizens of the country following this incident. The attack was strongly condemned by the government leaders who claim that “this isn't who we are . greeting those that have landed at their local airports and even opening the doors to their houses to accommodate newcomers.and doesn't reflect the warm welcome Canadians have offered. it states that “to date.” showing the country’s efforts in monetary form. especially one that promotes diversity throughout the citizens of their nation. However. The citizens of Canada have also responded willingly to those in need and affected by the Syrian crisis. On social media. development and security assistance in response to the Syrian crisis. From donating money and opening the doors to their country and their own homes. Canadians generally shared their excitement and welcoming attitudes towards their new neighbours on Twitter using the Liberal party’s hashtag. Listed on the Global Affairs of Canada website.

This was probably one guy who was drunk or. the government and the Canadian public. Now we have more confidence in Canada and more confidence in the government. genders and religions. including greeting them while arriving at the Vancouver airport. one of the refugees affected by the incident. In contrast to the early 1900’s when Canada was a nation where some minorities received prejudice against .” recognizing that this attack was an individual’s hateful attitude and not the nation’s.” Ahmad Hwichan. also one of the dozen victims pepper sprayed also said four days after the attack. “We saw the attention that was given by the Prime Minister himself. Hazaa Sahal. Shadi al-Radi further explained their gratitude as he said. It will never change. The overwhelming response the Kurdi family has received is what Canada strives to be all about: warm welcomes and being inclusive and supportive of all races. supportive citizens and waiting relatives greeted the extended family of Alan Kurdi. The citizens’ unity was shown through their support to these affected Syrian refugees and also through their greetings towards newly arrived refugees after waiting for their landings at local airports. crazy. 2015. explained how some of them initially regretted moving to Canada after the incident but quickly changed their minds “when they saw the overwhelming positive response from police. health officials. On December 28.Megan Bravo Socials 11 unexpectedly reacted in a positive manner and say that the incident has strengthened their faith in Canada rather than in a poor way. The majority of the attitudes have been working towards this identity of the nation despite the few individuals opposing it. “This doesn’t change my point of view of Canada. the three-year old boy photographed lifeless on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea who turned into a viral controversy. I don’t know.” Another refugee. Canadian citizens have reacted supportively towards the Kurdi family after the photo of Alan was heavily publicized and continue to outpour their sincere care towards the family.

In conclusion. The Canadian government along with the citizens have been and continue to greet the Syrian newcomers to the country with welcoming attitudes. . resulting to even being denied entrance because of it. Although there was a delay in taking action by the government prior to the election and offensive hate crimes done by individuals. Canada strives to be a nation of diversity and acceptance and is working towards this goal every day. the country has radically improved since the refusal of Armenian and Jewish refugees in the early 1900’s. today’s welcoming Canadian identity.Megan Bravo Socials 11 race. the progress is clear as we reflect on the history of past responses to refugees. built on the improving refugee crises responses in the past is embodied through the government and the citizens’ eager attitudes to safely accommodate those affected by the crisis taking place in Syria. the country today has come a long way in welcoming those seeking refuge in Canada.

2015. 12 Jan. 2016. 2016. News. 18>.cic. http://ccrweb. 2016. "Nansen Refugee Award.gc. Web. ECommunications Communications Products and Services. "Brief History of Canada’s Responses to Refugees.html>. Web. 2016. "Conservative Government Aims to Resettle 10. Geordon. Frank. 12 Jan. 2016.unhcr. 2016. Deputy Minister of Foreign Rosemary. Palmay. 19 Sept.html>." Government of Canada. 13 Jan. 2016. 12 Jan." Brief History of Canada’s Responses to Refugees. Children and Families. 2016. 8 Jan. Web. Omand." Thestar. 12>." Cic. 2015. 2016.cbc. <http://news."CBCnews. "Trudeau Condemns Vancouver Pepper Spray Attack on Syrian Refugees.3235415>. http://www. 2015. <http://www. Web. "Canada Acted Differently to Hungarian Refugees in 1956 | Toronto Star. "Canada Welcomes Syrian Refugees.nationalpost." About the Award.thestar." CBCnews. "Canada's Syrian Refugee Plan Limited to" Thestar. Foreign Affairs Trade and Development Canada. 12 Jan.cbc. 2015. "Syrian Refugees Pepper-sprayed in Vancouver Still Grateful to Canadians | Toronto Star. 10 Jan.gc. <http://www. <http://www. Web. Syrian Refugees by September 2016.html>. 2016. Web. 23 6 Jan." National Post Trudeau Condemns Vancouver Pepper Spray Attack on Syrian Refugees This Isnt Who Weare Comments. 18 Jan. <http://www. <http://www.unhcr. Web.gc. CBC/Radio Canada. 15 Dec.aspx?lang=eng Crawford.html> Bravo Socials 11 Works Cited "Archive of Past Nansen Winners. <http://www. <http://www.htm 15 Dec. CBC. . Web.3330185>. "Canada’s Response to the Conflict in" UNHCR CBC/Radio Canada.

Web. <http://lifelinesyria. 2016. 8 Jan. Web. 6 Jan. 2016." LifelineSyria.Megan Bravo Socials 11 "Response to Nov24 Announcement. "“Welcome to Your New Home:” Justin Trudeau Greets Syrian Refugees Arriving in Canada. 11>.> ." Global News. <http://globalnews.