Thursday, 18 August 2016

And now for a word for the sponsors

Canadian Senator Ratna Omidvar talks with the Center for Global Development about Canada's refugee sponsorship programme.

Hit the link for a longer, wider ranging interview.
While other countries, including the UK and the US, have seen their politics dominated by domestic concerns about refugees and migrants, Canada prides itself on a sunnier narrative.

“Canada’s approach to migration is increasingly different from that of the rest of the world,” Omidvar says.

“Different” in this case means “much friendlier.” Canada has accepted more than 25,000 Syrian refugees, many more than the US, and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has personally welcomed refugees upon their arrival in the country.

Why the difference? Omidvar, founder of the Ryerson University Global Diversity Exchange think tank and former chair of Lifeline Syria, a group that helps private citizens sponsor refugees to come to Canada, calls it “Canadian exceptionalism.”
I was happy to see that New Zealand will be at least looking more closely at this kind of model, with a small limited trial coming.

Next week, The Initiative will be hosting the final of its Next Generation Debates. Canterbury and Auckland Universities will be debating the moot "New Zealand should accept 60,000 refugees per year". Come join us. Our panellists will be Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, and the Greens' Spokesperson for Immigration, Pacific Peoples, and Ethnic Affairs Denise Roche.

I'm agnostic about what the 'right' number of refugees is. But I think that the Canadians have a process that lets that number emerge endogenously when people are willing to help. And I think Kiwis are ready to help.


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