Canada’s Refugee Mandate?
Canada held elections earlier this week with a surprising outcome. Out was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative party, replaced with Justin Trudeau and his liberal government. Harper’s government did little to grow Canada’s slowing economy and held controversial foreign policy on growing issues like immigration and terrorism. The people of Canada were tiring of Harper, handing Trudeau a decisive win and clear majority in the House of Commons.
Mr. Trudeau pledged ‘a real change…with a positive vision that brings Canadians together’. The unique aspect of Mr. Trudeau and his liberal party’s landslide victory are some of the issues they campaigned on- which could have a significant impact on the Middle East and Syria in particular. They vowed to end Canadian involvement in the US-led combat mission against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, reduce or eliminate costly military programs while instead focusing on humanitarian efforts across the globe.
To the millions of refugees fleeing conflict in Syria, the real importance is Trudeau’s pledge to significantly increase accepted refugees from 10,000 to 25,000 this year alone. He’s promised hundreds of millions to speed up processing and settlement of refugees while planning to reverse a previous policy denying refugees health care.
These were issues that were heavily campaigned on, not simply thrown in when convenient. The fact Trudeau and his party won in such a landslide signifies the Canadian people’s willingness to help those in need. If successful, these policies could be implemented by other governments. Instead of spending billions on warfare, humanitarian efforts could be a much larger focus.