Meeting will discuss response to Syrian refugee crisis

A meeting will be held on on Wednesday evening to discuss how Summerland can respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

A meeting will be held on on Wednesday evening to discuss how Summerland can respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

At present, there are 4.3 million Syrians registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The Canadian government has pledged to bring 10,000 to Canada by the end of this year and another 15,000 in the first months of 2016.

“The federal government is depending on municipalities to step forward and help settle these people,” said Coun. Doug Holmes, who is organizing the meeting.

While some Canadians have called on the federal government not to take in refugees, Holmes said this suggestion would be a mistake.

“Closing our borders to people who desperately need our help makes us guilty of the same kind of hatred being spread in the Middle East right now.”

He added that Canada accepts 250,000 immigrants a year, of which 25,000 are refugees.

In the past, Canada has responded to previous refugee crises, including the plight of Vietnamese refugees in the late 1970s, Hungarians in 1957 and others.

“We can’t solve all the problems of the world, but if we can do our part, we ought to do it.”

Earlier this year, the Summerland United Church sponsored one family of five Syrian refugees who are now living in the community.

Holy Child Catholic Parish, along with two other Catholic parishes in Penticton, will also sponsor a family who will settle in Summerland or Penticton.

Holmes said the city of Thunder Bay, Ont. has passed a motion to accept 25 Syrian families in that community.

The meeting will be held in the meeting of the Summerland Library on Wednesday, Dec. 2, beginning at 7 p.m.