By Craig Funston
I think I missed JT’s phone call the other week, in his quest for cabinet ministers. I was half hoping I would be his next Immigration Minister. Perhaps if he reads the following, he will be impressed with my ideas, and give me a quick buzz.
You see, it’s just a matter of time before we Canadians will be challenged with what to do with the refugee crisis. I know there’s a Liberal promise of taking in thousands soon, but those are just words–Liberal words, at that.
If there’s no plan, it’s “Lookee, our 25,000 Muslims for Christmas are here. Now what?”
One response is to ignore it and hope it goes away. Let them stay in Europe, we might suggest. Or we could re-direct the refugees to perhaps Iceland; they have lots of space. A third alternative is to do something along non-government lines (say, a church or community organization) and sponsor a family or two. Personally, I see the latter as the best option: less top down, more ground up.
The refugee crisis over there could soon become a refugee crisis over here. I just hope the powers-that-be have some sort of plan as to how to handle it. If not, I know of a county-famous columnist who has some splendid ideas on re-settlement…
But before I share my brilliance, there are some startling facts that are beginning to emerge over this, also known as the “Syrian refugee crisis.” You may or may not be aware of them, so here is some food for thought:
1. Many of the refugees are not, in fact, Syrian. We call them Syrian refugees, when actually they’re refugees from other Muslim countries. I don’t have a problem calling them what they are; I just have a problem calling them what they’re not.
2. There are many healthy young men among them, without any seeming legitimate claim to refugee status. Does that alarm you like it alarms me? Can you spell I-S-I-S I-N-F-I-L-T-R-A-T-O-R-S? You may feel it’s paranoid to think that; I think it’s naive to not to think that.
As we bring these “refugees” over to North America, will the illegal ones sneak in among the real ones? And what are the ramifications of that? Refugees, yes; illegals and spies, no. All this in light of the recent Paris massacre. If we must take them in, then there should be an excessively rigorous screening process.
3. Have you ever wondered where these refugees are headed to? Or perhaps better stated: Where they aren’t headed to? Why do the refugees appear to not want to go to other Muslim countries, or why do other Muslim countries appear to not want them?
I find it strange—that is, somewhere between amusing and confusing–that the “evil West” is the first place they head to when they have the opportunity. If the West is so debauched, why are Muslims flocking to it? You may recall that part of the Christian heritage that we used to enjoy is to help our fellow-man. It seems that few, if any, other faiths practise that—particularly the Muslim one.
So on a positive note, what are the plans to settle them in our country? I have a few ideas, but who am I—just another faceless voice amidst the mass of voiceless faces? But I do have this column as a platform for some ideas.
I humbly suggest that we re-settle the 25,000 souls in the interiors of many provinces. Even a vague estimation would be a few hundred to a few thousand refugees per province (depending on its size). I would steer these people clear of the major urban centres, and re-locate them into small hamlets and villages scattered throughout our nation.
In fact, I can think of quite a few hamlets and villages within a radius of two hours of this column that could do with a shot in the arm. Then there’s more as we head farther north.
The infrastructure—roads, utilities, and houses—are already there. Everything would be affordable and accessible to these people. Empty houses, schools, plus commercial and manufacturing facilities would be filled. The few existing residents would have many new neighbours or potential buyers for their houses.
If you’re still not clear what I’m saying, think in terms of the hundreds of Mexican-Mennonite families that have rejuvenated many hamlets and villages throughout our province.
There are lot of red flags with my idea, I know that. Even I have some cautions. (Maurice, obviously, I haven’t thought everything out, so cut me some slack.) There are cultural, vocational, and religious issues to work out…no kidding. I am simply saying fill up the empty (and willing) hamlets and villages in a controlled, purposeful manner. Make sure there’s plenty of accountability for their re-location—unlike our native reserve debacle.
Just biding my time for Justin to phone.