Statement on LGBT Syrian Refugees
February 18th, 2016 - 2:30pm
Mr. Randall Garrison (Esquimalt - Saanich - Sooke, NDP): Mr. Speaker, in November, when the government announced it would recognized LGBT refugees as among the highest risk Syrian refugees, I was among the first to praise the government for changing Caanda's policy to recognize the fact that LGBT refugees are subject to extra risks simply because of who they are.
When it quickly became clear that LGBT refugees were not actually getting through the system, I approached the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and he asked me to work with the government to find a solution.
Three obstacles still remain: getting access to the Canadian system from the region, meeting the unique settlement needs of LGBT refugees, and making links with the local LGBT groups in Canada waiting to sponsor them.
In December, I presented the government with a plan to work with Egale Canada and private sponsorship groups from across the country to get those at risk here as quickly as possible. Now, nearly three months have passed. The government continues to express its good intentions while the lives of LGBT Syrians remain at serious risk.
I call on the government to act to create a path which will allow LGBT Syrian refugees to find the safety and support they need here in Canada and to do so now.