The Williams Lake Tribune/Weekend Advisor reached out to federal candidates in the upcoming Oct. 19 election in the Cariboo-Prince George riding.
This is the fourth set of answers to five questions posed to candidates, which will be published leading up to the election.
Each candidate was given a 200-word limit per answer.
What is your position on Canada accepting more refugees?
Conservative Party candidate Todd Doherty
A Conservative government would continue to support an approach that is measured, balanced, and focused on ensuring that we take real action to help the refugee crisis that has been aggravated by the threat of ISIS.
Our government has supported humanitarian efforts in Turkey, Egypt and Jordan as the crisis unfolded. As your representative, I will support plans that work for Canadians. This is why I support our plan that would bring in 10,000 new refugees by September of next year, and provides support for screening refugees. This is a plan that doesn’t set aside the security concerns of Canadians. We’re making sure Canada takes in real refugees, not people trying to exploit weak systems in order to pursue ISIS’ agendas internationally.
Green Party candidate Richard Jaques
Canada should be utilizing its foreign embassies and field offices to fast track refugee applications for the most vulnerable, this would include young families with children. At the present time, the Canadian Armed Forces has multiple military transport A-320 Airbuses in the conflict area. An organized and safe evacuation can be initiated by the Canadian Government with immediate transport of hundreds to the safety at CFB Trenton and CFB Greenwood.
Liberal Party candidate Tracy Calogheros
Canada is a country built by immigrants and the children of immigrants. Millions of people envy our lives. We enjoy prosperity, freedom, and acceptance. Today the focus is on Syrian refugees, but we cannot forget that there have been refugees from all parts of the world in the past and, unfortunately, there are bound to be more in the future.
I believe that Canada has the capacity to accept many more refugees, offering them the same chance our ancestors had, a chance to contribute to a welcoming country that leads by example. We will bring in 25,000 more Syrian refugees immediately, without compromising our security or screening. I support and applaud that plan. To some people, that may sound like a large number.
But really it amounts to about 6,000 refugee families or so spread across Canada. Refugees are motivated, educated, and will bring skills to this country that will contribute to our economy. We have the opportunity and the ability to embrace these people in our communities. We are the lucky ones here in Canada. Sharing that good fortune is the right thing to do.
Independent candidate Sheldon Clare
While we must ensure that refugee applications are dealt with as quickly as due process will allow, we must also ensure that refugees accepted in Canada are properly screened to avoid bringing in criminals or other false claimants. Immigration should be compassionate, but also add value to Canada.
Furthermore, as much of our country is currently in a recession, thanks to the current government’s banking on oil prices, there are few jobs available for refugees.
Canada has a long history of opening its doors to those in need, but it will do no one any good to go from poverty to poverty.
We must ensure that refugees have viable economic futures here in Canada, and Canada must use its diplomatic resources to persuade allies closer to war-torn regions to do more for refugees than they have been. As well, it is important to address the root cause of why there are refugees, and to work towards ending the violent circumstances that force people from their homes.
Christian Heritage Party Adam De Kroon
Absolutely, let’s accept more refugees. But at the same time I think it is important to screen potential refugees to make sure that we are accepting people who need our help the most. There have been reports of Iranians and Saudi Arabians going into Syria, throwing away their ID and getting into European countries as “Sryian” refugees. So I think it is still important to screen potential refugees.
Apolitical candidate Gordon Campbell
That’s an apolitical no-brainer for me with Canada being the second largest country in the world with more water and other resources than anywhere else on the planet.
As the old saying goes, “But for the Grace of God there go I.”
We should take in as many as possible. That is the deal because that’s what made up Canada in the first place. We need more people. We only have 37 million.
We are such a big country and have room for anyone. It’s such a challenge for refugees to get here and if they can some how then they deserve to be here.
New Democratic Party candidate Trent Derrick
Tom Mulcair and the NDP believe that Canada can and should meet its UN obligation to accept more refugees from conflict zones.
We have a proud tradition of accepting legitimate refugees. Rick Hillier, former chief of the defence staff and a career soldier, has publicly stated his belief that we can accelerate our processing of refugee claims without compromising Canadian security.