What distinguishes the Syrians arriving in Canada from those reaching Europe?
Thursday, February 18, 2016

Europe’s welcome for refugees has faded fast. Five months after the image of little Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach – which inspired German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare her country could take many more refugees – the mood here darkens by the day.

Last week, it was Sweden – long perceived as the European country most welcoming of newcomers – declaring it expected to reject as many as half the 160,000 asylum applications it received in 2015, and that tens of thousands of people would be deported. Finland and Austria quickly followed with similar plans (Finland said it might reject as many as two-thirds of its 32,000 refugee applicants).

Denmark and Switzerland made their growing hostility to newcomers plain another way, introducing laws allowing for the seizure of refugees’ jewellery and other valuables as a crude method of helping subsidize asylum-seekers’ costs to the state. Bavaria and other south German states have taken similar steps. 

Meanwhile, discussion spread about kicking Greece out of the continent’s visa-free Schengen Area, a move that would effectively bottle up refugees in the economically failing country, turning Greece into a giant holding pen. 

British Prime Minister David Cameron captured Europe’s darkening zeitgeist when he disparagingly referred to the thousands of people camped in the French port of Calais – people hoping to reach the United Kingdom – as “a bunch of migrants” that the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn would foolishly admit into the country if he ever gained office.

(Mr. Cameron this week hosted a donors’ conference that raised $6-billion for the refugee crisis. It was a commendable effort, but delegates to the conference openly spoke of as an effort to deter more people from coming to Europe via making life somewhat more bearable in the refugee settlements of the Middle East.)

Canada, watching from afar – and worried about integrating the much smaller number of Syrian refugees now arriving – would be wise not to follow Europe’s down this dimly lit path, or draw the wrong lessons from it.
Our refugees are different from their refugees. And our integration challenges will be different too. 


Read full article here.

Source: Globe and Mail