Resolution Number: A253

Subject: Refugees and Immigrants

Moved By: Bishop Gordon Light, from the Parishes of the Central Interior

Seconded By: Phillip Poole, from the Diocese of Toronto

Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.

BE IT RESOLVED:

That this General Synod:

  1. Congratulate dioceses and parishes for 25 years of commitment to Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
  2. Call on dioceses and parishes to increase their commitment to the private sponsorship of refugees by increasing the number of refugees they are willing to sponsor annually.
  3. Encourage those dioceses that are not Sponsorship Agreement Holders to participate in the sponsorship of refugees either by signing an agreement with the government of Canada and becoming Sponsorship Agreement Holders themselves or by considering a joint ecumenical effort where this is possible.
  4. Call on Anglicans in Canada to continue welcoming refugees and immigrants into their communities.
  5. Affirm the positive contributions refugees and immigrants have made and continue to make to the life of the Anglican Church and to Canada as a whole.
  6. Challenge and denounce irresponsible and unsubstantiated linking of refugees and migrants to security concerns.

EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees program was established in 1979 to allow Canadians to sponsor refugees for resettlement in Canada. Since 1979, private sponsors such as churches, other faith communities, ethnic associations and unions have sponsored over 180,000 refugees.

The following dioceses are Sponsorship Agreement Holders: Nova Scotia and P.E.I., Central Newfoundland, Eastern Newfoundland and Labrador, Western Newfoundland, Fredericton, Algoma, Ottawa, Ontario, Huron, Toronto, Niagara, Rupert’s Land, Qu’Appelle, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, New Westminster, Kootenay, British Columbia.

The Canadian Council for Refugees’ First Annual Report Card on Canada’s Refugee and Immigration Programs notes that post September 11 enforcement measures by the Government of Canada targeting Muslims and Arabs have lead to an increase in prejudice, racism and xenophobia against these communities. “The conduct of Operation Thread in the summer of 2003, which led to the public labeling of 23 Pakistani and Indian men as ‘suspected terrorists’ on the basis of very flimsy evidence, is a compelling example of how Citizenship and Immigration Canada has promoted a spurious link between terrorism and Muslims and Arabs.” None of the men labeled “suspected terrorists” were formally charged and no evidence was found linking them to terrorism. All of the men were eventually released. The CCR adds that the government has done little to counter the myths and stereotypes about refugees that continue to feature strongly in Canadian public opinion.

 

Source: PWRDF Board
  (name of committee, diocese, etc.)
Submitted by: PWRDF Board