Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Sep 5 2015, Page 10

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - September 5, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba winnipegfreepress. com WINNIPEG A10 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 REFUGEE CRISIS FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2015 A11 Wise customers read the fine print: *, †, § The All Out Clearout Sales Event offers are limited time offers which apply to retail deliveries of selected new and unused models purchased from participating retailers on or after September 1, 2015. Offers subject to change and may be extended without notice. All pricing includes freight ($ 1,695) and excludes licence, insurance, registration, any retailer administration fees, other retailer charges and other applicable fees and taxes. Retailer order/ trade may be necessary. 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Mulcair dismissed military action — specifically Canada’s current bombing campaign in Syria and Iraq — as a solution to the refugee flood that is overwhelming Europe and captivating worldwide public attention. Speaking at a seniors residence in Brossard, Que., Friday, Mulcair said the gut- wrenching plight of a drowned three- year- old Syrian boy whose family wanted to come to Canada is not the kind of tragedy that can be solved by military force. “ When I hear the answers from the prime minister saying, ‘ Well, more war is the solution,’ well, no amount of military action would have saved that child on that beach,” Mulcair said of Alan Kurdi, whose tiny body was photographed washed up in the surf after a failed attempt by his family to flee Turkey for Greece. “ Let’s start acting to save lives immediately. Canada’s done it in the past, and we can do it again.” Alan, his five- year- old brother Ghalib and their mother, Rehanna, died this week in an unsuccessful attempt to reach Europe by boat. The father, Abdullah, survived. The tragedy sparked bitter partisan arguments over whether Canadian officials had rejected a refugee bid by Alan’s uncle, or if the application simply lacked complete documentation. Asked if there was any role at all for Canada’s military in stopping the refugee crisis, Mulcair was emphatic: “ The NDP disagrees with the use of Canada’s Armed Forces in that conflict. We’ve been clear on that since the beginning.” At a Conservative rally in Whitehorse, Harper pounced, calling the NDP’s approach a “ cop- out” that is “ deeply ideological.” “ It is deeply wrong, and it is out of step with what Canadians believe,” Harper said. There’s nothing contradictory about helping refugees and also launching an aerial bombardment of fighters with the Islamic State terror group, he said. He then moved to pivot the refugee issue away from Thursday’s emotional hand- wringing over whether Canada is doing enough fast enough to aid people displaced by the Syrian conflict toward safer Conservative territory of national security. Stopping IS, Harper argued, is necessary to stem the “ root cause” of the refugee flood and also to protect Canada from terrorism. “ Forget about how wrong that is from a humanitarian, compassionate sense,” Harper said of ending the militarily effort to stop the Islamic extremists. He then questioned why Canadians “ would allow our own security to be threatened in that way, ( allowing) a group like this to set itself up as an empire in the middle of the world to launch terrorist attacks against us.” Mulcair argued the humanitarian crisis predates the IS and goes back to the 2003 American- led invasion of Iraq. Campaigning Friday in Richmond Hill, Ont., Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau focused on the logistics of bringing Syrian refugees to Canada more quickly. “ There’s been a bit of a catch- 22 that the UN can’t designate someone until they’re accepted in Canada, and that they can’t be accepted in Canada until the UN designates them,” Trudeau said. “ It is more likely more complex than that, but I think it is very clear that what is needed in this case is for leadership in our country that stands up and says we want to start accepting tens of thousands of refugees in an immediate way.” The refugee crisis has side- swiped a central debate in the race to the Oct. 19 federal election, which had been shaping up as a battle over economic management. Unemployment figures for August released Friday added more grist to that mill. Statistics Canada reported the Canadian economy gained 12,000 jobs last month, bolstered by gains in full- time employment. However, because more people were looking for work, the jobless rate actually increased to seven per cent, up from 6.8 per cent. — The Canadian Press Crisis political ammunition NDP pans military role, Harper says necessary By Bruce Cheadle OTTAWA — Advocates for Syrian refugees languishing abroad are pushing the federal government to take special measures to cut red tape and speed up processing, saying Canada needs to do more in the face of a staggering crisis. Millions have fled war- ravaged Syria since 2011, but fewer than 2,400 Syrians have been resettled in Canada during the last two years, part of an overall commitment to accept 11,300 people. “ This is a paltry figure relative to Canada’s capacity to help and compared to the number already taken in by Germany and Sweden,” the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said Friday. Refugee resettlement is about the urgent need for protection, said the Council of the Canadian Refugee Sponsorship Agreement Holders Association, which represents organizations that privately sponsor people fleeing danger. “ Sponsorship procedures need to be fast and efficient, so that lives are not lost in the current situation of endless red tape.” The call to do more comes amid global shock over the drowning deaths of two young Syrian boys and their mother, who apparently wanted to join family in British Columbia. At an election campaign stop in Whitehorse, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday the government was “ evaluating how exactly it is we process people” to make sure it is done efficiently. “ We realize that we have to bring in more, and we have to do it more effectively and quickly.” Citizenship and Immigration Canada spokeswoman Nancy Caron had no immediate answers to questions about exactly what the department intended to do. Furio de Angelis, the United Nations’ official representative in Ottawa on refugee issues, said in an interview the UN expects all countries — including Canada — to step up efforts. He said it’s up to Canada to figure out the best means to improve the processing of refugees. “ The range of options is there.” The Canadian Council for Refugees and Amnesty International Canada have called for Syrians with family in Canada to be allowed entry immediately to complete processing in safety. Advocates also urge: . More government resources and staff in Canada and at visa posts to keep up with applications from would- be refugee sponsors and reduce long processing times. . Flexible measures, such as temporary resident permits and work visas, that would ease entry to Canada. . Full government funding of its refugee commitment targets, separate from all private sponsorships. . Waiving documentation requirements such as proof of refugee status — something the UN doesn’t provide, for instance, to Syrians in Turkey. — The Canadian Press Syria refugee crisis . 4,088,078: The number of Syrian refugees who have fled their country since the outbreak of civil war in 2012, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. . 2,000: The number of Syrian refugees who have drowned trying to reach Europe since 2011, according to a UN report released this week. . 23 million: Syria’s population before the civil war. The UN estimates half the population has been displaced internally or fled the country. . 2,374: The number of Syrian refugees Canada has admitted through government- assisted and privately sponsored refugee programs. . 10,000: The number of additional Syrian refugees the Canadian government says it will accept by 2017. . $ 795,336.928: The shortfall in funding the UN refugee agency faces this year. It has raised only 41 per cent of the $ 1.3 billion it says it needs to care for refugees in 2015. . $ 11,899,170: The amount Canada has contributed to the UN refugee agency for Syria this year. That ranks Canada seventh among about 30 donor countries or entities that are contributing. . $ 219,335,000: The amount the U. S. has contributed. It ranks first, followed by Kuwait at $ 101,890,000. — The Canadian Press Faster processing urged Refugee advocates say there is too much red tape By Jim Bronskill P ARIS — The three- year- old boy could have been dressed for preschool. Instead, he was lying face- down in the surf. Suddenly, offers of money, meals and refuge are pouring in to help the hundreds of thousands of migrants surging into Europe. A single photo of a lifeless boy did more to galvanize public sympathy for Europe’s migrants than thousands of drownings in the Mediterranean or four years of Syrian civil war. Whether Alan Kurdi’s drowning death marks a turning point in Europe’s migration crisis depends on what European politicians do in response. So far, no dramatic new solutions have emerged. Given the EU’s cumbersome structure and powerful national interests among its 28 members, any political change will be slow — if it happens at all. Ideological divides run deep, and suspicion of immigrants simmers. Yet for many people from London to Athens to San Francisco, something clicked Thursday. There will be a before and an after, a collective memory of the image of a three- year- old on a Turkish beach; that moment when the migrants’ plight became tangible and unjustifiably cruel. Sweden’s foreign minister cried on national television. So did Australia’s most popular TV personality. They were not alone. Tweets in a dozen languages shared pain and anger elicited by viewing the photo of Alan, taken by a Turkish news agency and spread to cellphones and front pages the world around. Many have taken action, too. Parisians unexpectedly packed a meeting hall to offer rooms to refugees. A little- known French grassroots group trying to find housing for asylum applicants had 200 room offers Tuesday; by Thursday night it had 500. Donors from around the world flooded the UN refugee agency with offers of aid. “ The image... has started a movement of civil society, of private individuals, and even of the tabloid press, to say: ‘ Governments, we need to do more,’ ” said agency spokeswoman Melissa Fleming. “ Our private- sector fundraising people are inundated with requests: ‘ How can we help? How can we donate money?’ ” she said, adding she didn’t have a precise figure yet but “ it’s in the millions.” Multiple aid groups said they noticed a substantial increase in donations since the photos emerged. Christian humanitarian organization World Vision said donations nearly tripled just one day after the photos of Alan circulated. On Tuesday, the organization received US$ 3,755 in funds. By Wednesday — the day the boy was found — that jumped to about US$ 12,500, records show. “ Our donors clearly have a heart for what is happening,” said Loren Skaggs, the group’s Internet marketing director. “ We hope the spirit of compassion continues even after the news stories fade.” Online donations to Islamic Relief USA, which provides aid to Syrian refugees, also about doubled the average level over the past two days. European decision- makers have heard the calls, convened meetings and insisted they are not soulless bureaucrats. Germany and France urged faster action on a relatively modest plan to force all EU members to take in a certain number of migrants. But not everyone shed tears upon learning Alan, his mother and five- year- old brother drowned in the Mediterranean as they tried to reach Greece. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Europe should tell Syrian refugees “ Please don’t come!” Speaking to the European Parliament, he continued: “ Why do you have to go from Turkey to Europe? Turkey is a safe country. Stay there, it’s risky to come. We can’t guarantee that you will be accepted here.” France’s popular far- right leader Marine Le Pen said Europe should never have let its doors stay open to migrants in the first place. The EU’s top diplomat summed up the realpolitik mood in Brussels. Asked about the photo, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said, “ As a human being, this is something that touches. But... I’m a little bit fed up that politicians are called to react emotionally. “ Our job,” she said, “ is to take decisions rationally, being consistent and coherent with our emotions.” One political cartoon Friday showed a boy dead in the water with a lifesaver floating nearby, painted with the yellow stars and blue field of the EU flag. That’s how many view Europe’s failure to take bold steps amid its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War — especially as Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon have taken in more than 3.7 million Syrians while European governments argue about where to put 40,000 refugees. — The Associated Press, with files from the Los Angeles Times A tragic photo, a turning point? As public awakens to migrant misery, will world finally act? BICSKE, Hungary — Hundreds of migrants, stymied by Hungarian authorities who had halted trains to Germany, began a final march toward freedom Friday, breaking away from police and heading on foot for the western border. In a bid to ease the crisis, the Hungarian government said in a surprise announcement Friday night it was dispatching buses to take hundreds of the marchers to the border with Austria. It was not clear what their fate would be there. With people streaming in long lines along highways from a Budapest train station and one near a migrant reception centre in the northern town of Bicske, the buses would be used because “ transportation safety can’t be put at risk,” said Janos Lazar, chief of staff to the prime minister. “ A migration crisis is shaking Hungary,” Lazar said, blaming Germany’s “ contradictory communications” and the European Union for the crisis. There was no answer whether Austria will let the migrants in. Lazar said Hungary had asked Austria to clarify its position on the migrants but had not yet received an answer. The buses will take passengers to the main Hegyeshalom crossing with Austria, although it’s not clear if they will trust authorities and get on the buses. Some were tricked earlier in the week to get on a train that did not go to Austria. “ This is a opportunity,” Lazar said. “ The immigrants have to decide whether they want to take advantage of it. We are taking this step so Hungary’s transportation is not paralyzed during the next 24 hours.” The asylum- seekers — many from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan — had already made dangerous treks in scorching heat, under barbed wire on Hungary’s southern frontier and faced the hostility of some locals along the way. Their first stop will be Austria, on Hungary’s western border, though most hope to eventually reach Germany. Hungarian authorities had refused to let them board trains to the west, and they balked at going to processing centres for migrants, fearing they would then be forced to live in Hungary. Under European law, refugees are supposed to seek asylum in the first European Union country they enter. But most of them see limited economic opportunities and a less- welcoming atmosphere in Hungary than in Germany, Sweden and other western nations. Earlier Friday, Parliament tightened its immigration rules, approving the creation of transit zones on the border with Serbia where migrants would be kept until asylum requests were decided within eight days. Migrants would have limited chance to appeal those decisions. Meanwhile, in Kobani, Syria, three- yearold Alan Kurdi was buried Friday, along with his mother and five- year- old brother. They were among 12 migrants who drowned off the Turkish coast of Bodrum on Wednesday. The grieving father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived the tragedy. He said he was abandoning thought of leaving his homeland again. “ He only wanted to go to Europe for the sake of his children,” said Suleiman Kurdi, an uncle of the father. “ Now that they’re dead, he wants to stay here in Kobani next to them.” Turkey’s state- run Anadolu news agency said four suspected human traffickers were detained in connection with the drownings and face charges of smuggling and involuntary manslaughter. — The Associated Press By Angela Charlton and Lorne Cook Migrants offered rides to border with Austria DARRYL DYCK / THE CANADIAN PRESS Alan and Ghalib Kurdi’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, sits next to photos of them and their mother, Rehanna, who drowned trying to reach Europe from Syria. NILUFER DEMIR / DHA FILES / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS OPINION / A14- 15 A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Alan Kurdi. Photos of the boy have stirred emotions over the plight of migrants.

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