Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Canada's Private Refugee System Fosters Generosity, Acceptance, Kindness


Pic by Shutterstock

Freedom unleashes benevolence, explains Wendy McElroy in this guest post.

Syrian families are arriving in the sleepy corner of Southern Ontario where my husband and I live on a farm. The refugees receive financial support for one year, complete with travel expenses, housing, furniture, food and the support network they will need to integrate into communities. The cost per refugee is estimated to be C$12,000 (about $8,778 US) for an individual or C$25,000 (about $18,280 US) for a family of four.

The Syrians are warmly welcomed here because the sponsorship is privately funded by Canadian churches, non-profits, charities, and bands of individuals who extend compassion at their own expense, rather than use tax dollars. In short, the refugees are wanted and not an economic burden.

A headline in Public Radio International explained, “Canadians are coming out in droves, again, to resettle refugees — on their own dime.” The story continued, “Canada is the only country that has the private sponsorship of refugees mandated into its immigration law.”

The innovation came as a response to the “boat people” crisis in the wake of the Vietnam War. Vietnamese refugees poured out of the ravaged nation, with many dying from overcrowded boats, pirates, and other privations. Prior to 1978, Canada assessed each immigrant's application on a case by case basis and had no fixed policy on refugees. After 1978, refugees became an exception to standard immigration procedures and fell into a new category called privately sponsored refugee (PSR), which allowed average Canadians to take responsibility for them. In just two years, 50,000 Vietnamese resettled in Canada, even though the majority had no family here and did not speak either of the official languages.

A similar dynamic is at work with Syrian refugees, not all of which are sponsored by groups or individuals. By the end of February, Canada had admitted 25,000 Syrians and, of that number, approximately 40 percent will be privately supported. Even with private sponsorship, however, the government plays a major role, with an application and vetting process that takes an average of 10 months to clear. Moreover, other paths for resettlement exist; for example, a “blended visa” mixes government and private sponsorship, with each party assuming six months of the financial burden. Nevertheless, the Canadian system is an encouraging step in the right direction – the direction of privatisation & personal responsibility.

The sponsorship system has been a success in several ways, the Globe and Mail reports.

Between 2004 and 2013, the number of government-assisted refugees declined in relation to the number of privately-sponsored refugees. In 2004, Canada welcomed 7,411 government-assisted refugees and 3,116 privately-sponsored refugees from around the world. By 2013, privately-sponsored refugees numbered 6,269 and government-assisted refugees 5,661.

The eagerness of private parties to sponsor refugees is clear from the long list of groups and individuals who have raised the necessary funds and are waiting to be matched with families. Syrians who qualify often need to be identified and vetted by the United Nations or other lumbering agencies — a process that can take years. This has the odd effect of putting refugees in short supply. That's why there is now a strong political trend within Canada to match government-assisted refugees who are already here with voluntary sponsors; for example, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne actively favors the option.

As it stands, many government-sponsored Syrians are stranded in hotel rooms while they await permanent housing and stability for their children. With private sponsorship, they could move almost immediately into a home and into a community where support networks are already in place. The networks facilitate enrolling children in schools, finding jobs, securing medical care, providing interpreters, and introducing refugees to local stores. This is part of the pledge of private sponsorship.

Nothing is perfect, especially with politically-charged issues like refugees and racism. There have been instances of cruelty, with one of the worst occurring in Vancouver where several refugees were pepper sprayed. But far, far more common are church potlucks, craft events, and yard sales held to raise funds for refugees. In Quebec, one woman launched the 25,000 Tuques project with thousands of hand-knitted tuques (warm Canadian hats) pouring in from across the country.

In turn, there has been an outpouring of good will from refugees; recently about twenty families handed out flowers at a Saskatoon mall in order to say “thank you.” Other families publish thank you letters to sponsors and well-wishers who meet them at airport arrival gates to welcome them into a new life.

The private sponsorship system reminds us that human nature is benevolent and compassionate. When allowed to function, the private sphere can address what seem to be insurmountable problems. And do it well.

mcelroy (1)Wendy McElroy is a prolific book author, columnist, speaker and contributor to journals and magazines as diverse as National Review, Marie Claire and Penthouse. She made her reputation as a young writer commenting from a libertarian standpoint on feminism, and taking a pro-pornography position that was anathema to the feminist "old guard" that saw pornography as a tool of chauvinist oppression. She has served as a weekly columnist for FoxNews.com and is the editor of the feminist website ifeminists.com. McElroy is also a research fellow at the Independent Institute, and contributing editor to Ideas on Liberty (formerly The Freeman), The New Libertarian, Free Inquiry and Liberty magazines. For over a decade, McElroy was a series editor for Knowledge Products, where wrote and edited many documentary scripts which were narrated by the likes of Walter Cronkite, George C. Scott and Harry Reasoner.



  1. How many can YOUR HOUSE TAKE CRESSWELL !!!!

    all talk NO WALK cress well

    ISRAEL has a WALL around the entire nation and has accepted and will NOT accept one single "refugee" aka BLACK INVADER
    move to ISRAEL OR CANADA THEN CRESSWELL !!!and I know your home can fit in a tonne of these "economic stimulant refugees" !!! and YOU CAN FEED CLOTHE AND SUPPLY THEM WITH FREE SHIT !!!

    You are a FCKN LOSER CRESSWELL AND A CULTURAL MARXIST in LIBERTARIAN WOLF CLOTHING and everyone sees through you..well those with an IQ above room temperature

  2. As is usual individuals making judgement calls do it better than govts but at least there is some vetting going on. All very nice and selective showing families as opposed to the young men that Europe has to deal with. There is no doubt that many families will do well but I'm not prepared to ignore those that won't. The bigger picture may not be as nice as these snippets. The line from the film "Mars Attacks" comes to mind, "We come in peace, shoot to kill". Maybe look again in 10 years to see how good the vetting was?


  3. 'Human nature is warm and compassionate". Sounds very nice and ever so fluffy cuddly and huggy wuggy and kissy friendly and family friendly and come in one and all and take whatever you want because our very own dear children are so pleased to live in poverty and have no future for as long as you parasites are happy. This "Independent[?] Feminist", like her common Marxist sisters, Knows how to manipulate the mesmerized Pathologically generous WHITE People. Only White European People are supposed to be "warm and compassionate". All other races only show cold, hard REJECTION. Especially of White People whom they consider to be soft, lazy dolts.
    Check out these sites for history lessons and cold , hard facts @ the Dumbed Down Whities; 99% controlled by Zionists:
    Redicecreations -- Renegade Tribune -- American Free Press -- newobserveronline

    Mr P Cresswell, if you allow not PC socialisthashashin his opinion to remain, then this is a strong blog spot. Most[?] NZ Blogs are ChildishMarxistStudentCommunistZiofeministHasbaratfed cemeteries full of dead choirs.
    Mr P Cresswell, Libertarianz and Marxists = same? Mass immigration good for...?

  4. Replies
    1. Too thick for my liking. Can you ban that regular troll somehow? It was funny the first time but not any longer.

    2. Agree- he is getting to be a bore- must lead a very lonely life- must also be very dark with his head stuck up his ass.


    3. Y'all virtue signallers can look down your noses all you like and make out like you're better people than the peasants.

      How many refugees have you welcomed into your home Peter?

      The UN and the gummit has vetted them so it'll be sweet as if they all bunk down in your daughters room right???

      Yeah Right

      Time for a little Dr common sense...
      Min 3.38 is a good start

  5. No, don't ban him. I've a psych exam coming up and he's made an excellent subject for my paper. He's nearing the rolling his shit into balls and eating crayons phase. Suzuki

  6. Here study this from your seats up in the nose-bleed section, you too Peter, with your blindness to 'free trade' and mass immigration and their effects on the little people. Maybe when it's your job and your ass on the line you will finally understand....


    "Funny how the conservative, globalized utopia we sought to impose always worked out really well for us. Except those left behind aren’t laughing.

    Trumpism isn’t merely about unfocused anger – it would be super-convenient to write this off as a temper tantrum that will soon blow over and allow us to get back to the business as usual of ignoring the pleas (which are now demands) to stop the immigration disaster, to address the fallout of free trade, and to stop the useless sacrifice of our sons and daughters in wars we’re too damn gutless to win. But it isn’t. Again and again Republicans promised to solve these problems and yet every single time they’ve lied. Rubio got elected in Florida promising to oppose amnesty then not only fails to do so but stands up with the Democrats and did the exact opposite. And we’re surprised a candidate comes along and points that out?

    Think of this as, in large part, the struggle between the haves and have nots of globalization. Amnesty was a great idea for bubble people who think illegal immigration satisfies some sort of libertarian ideal, or who only experience its impact by being able to hire a cheaper nanny. It’s a pretty great idea for the illegals too. But leave your nice neighborhood and go where a high school grad who was born here can’t get a job as a roofer since any general contractor who doesn’t hire illegals is going to go broke because his competition will. Tell somebody whose daughter is shot dead in front of him by an illegal who got arrested five times but never got deported that it’s an act of love."

    1. "If we had built the damn wall we promised our base back then, we probably wouldn’t have that damn Trump now.

      Free trade is great, in a macro sense. It sure helps enrich the donor class. But go tell the guy who lost his $25 an hour job because NAFTA let Carrier move its air conditioning plant to Mexico about Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose.” What’s he free to choose? Long-term unemployment? Making a fake Social Security disability claim? Or taking a job greeting at Wal-Mart for $8 an hour?

      Immigration and free trade are generally good, but they impose real costs and the base is getting handed the bill. These folks have been asking for help, and what was the response? Shut up, stupid racists.

      Well, they finally found someone who is taking their side. His name is Donald Trump, and we made him possible. Hell, we made him inevitable.

      But hey, talking about the real problem – us – is hard, so let’s focus on peripherals and hope against hope that we can put the Republican Party’s accounting off for another cycle. Let’s talk about Trump’s weird penis fixation, because that’s easier than introspection. Let’s jump on the ridiculous KKK disavowal train or run a picture of people raising their hands and hint it’s a Nazi salute, even though not one of us actually believes Trump supports the KKK or is a Nazi, because maybe we can tar him (and his followers) with charges we damn well know are false and that will let us avoid the reality of our predicament for a little while longer."

  7. The question still stands - How many muslim immigrants are you taking into your home Peter? What about you Honda Suzuki?

    If I was a gambling man I would bet on a big fat ZERO


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