Andrew Willis, Life as a Human
The Syrian refugee crisis seemed to reach its pinnacle in September when the small body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi washed up on a beach in Turkey. Aylan, his brother, mother and father had fled Syria in a tiny overcrowded boat that capsized during the treacherous journey. Aylan, his brother, Ghalib, and their mother all drowned in the waters off the Turkish coast, something which fueled the humanitarian outcry that came immediately after.
Countries around the world vowed to open their borders and arms to the hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrian refugees who were flooding into Europe. Canada, more than half a world away from Syria, quickly came under fire by the international media because the Kurdi family had wanted to settle in Canada with extended family. Mr. Kurdi pointed out Canada’s stringent immigration guidelines as part of the reason the Kurdi’s never made it to the Great White North.
The then Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, expressed his condolences to the family, but remained vague as to what role Canada would play in housing fleeing refugees. In mid-October, Stephen Harper lost the federal election to liberal candidate, Justin Trudeau.
Trudeau vowed to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada before the end of 2015. Then the November 13th Paris attacks happened and renewed fear of a North American terrorist attack. Countries around the world began to scale back their efforts to ease the refugee crisis and citizens raised concerns about safety.
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