This whole refugee situation deeply bothers me. Like most people I really, really was blissfully ignorant of a massive humanitarian crisis. I see one little boy lying dead in the sand and poof, suddenly I care. Like so many others my empathy for others is fickle. A week from now, two weeks from now will I be distracted?
So it turns out this boy’s family was trying to get to Canada. They had one application for one member of family rejected, they got desperate and tried to make it to Greece and then the tragedy occurred.
The Prime Minister gets in front of the camera and tells everyone Canada already is the most generous nation in world at settling immigrants and refugees. It is a carefully crafted statement that is true in one sense but it obscures the reality that we don’t take in as many asylum seekers as other nations. Relative to many other countries we aren’t that generous at all.
It was typical political BS. Say something that is technically true but that communicates something untrue. We’ve come to expect that our political leaders will do this over the budgets, programs, and gaffes. Many times it doesn’t really matter because what they are spinning one way or the other isn’t that big a deal.
In this situation however, Canadians have been stirred from their complacency on something that really matters. A real leader would have harnessed the collective compassion of our nation and steered it towards something truly good.
Instead our leader told us to go back to sleep. We already do more than anyone else, he said, and by the way we really need to keep bombing those bad guys. It doesn’t matter that the “bad guys” only displaced about 1/5th of the refugees in question. Perhaps you believe that bombing actually kills more terrorists than it inspires, I don’t. But even if we kept up the military campaign why can’t we find another 100 million in our 275 billion dollar budget to take in more refugees now that Canadians really want to take in more? Can’t we clear away the red tape so that we can take in more than a thousand people year?
I find it reprehensible that we would engage in dishonest political rhetoric when the suffering and survival of the weakest among us is at stake.