African refugees don’t win votes like Europeans



For weeks, newcomers, refugees, mostly form Africa, had camped outside a Toronto homeless referral centre looking for shelter and other amenities for survival.  Last Tuesday, after weeks of argument between City of Toronto officials and their federal government counterparts over who pays for this, Ottawa finally caved and came up with $97 million in new funding to help house refugees.

It’s not coincidental that this followed the intervention of community volunteers, including the founder of Paramount Fine Foods Mohamad Fakih, and two North York churches. Pastor Judith James said her church, Revivaltime Tabernacle on Dufferin Street, took in a number of refugees. It shamed the Feds into action.

Considering that the file is largely a federal responsibility, one wonders at the reluctance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to provide for the refugees. It could not be a shortage of cash, after all, the Feds came up with over half a billion dollars to fund various projects in Toronto to cover such things as new TTC electric buses, enhancements to Billy Bishop Airport, the Canadian Opera Company, etc. If one adds the $10 billion plus, and counting, that they have found to support Ukraine in their war with Russia, clearly Mr. Trudeau’s long delay in providing for refugee assistance borders on the absurd.

It also sets one thinking about the decision to finally relieve the African refugees of their misery shortly after last Sunday’s announcement that Ukrainians who fled their country following the Russian invasion will be able to apply for permanent residency this October as long as they have temporary resident status and at least one family member in Canada. The timing was interesting.

Revivaltime Tabernacle

The virtually unhindered path Mr. Trudeau’s government opened to the Ukrainian refugees is a blatant example of double standards in comparison to its treatment of the African refugees. The Africans are made to beg for what the Ukrainians are generously offered. The Ukrainians land at the airport; no sneaking through unprotected borders in the dead of winter for them.

It helps that the European refugees have a seat at the Cabinet table in the form of the Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, an unapologetic advocate for Ukraine who is still trapped in a Cold War time warp. On the other hand, Africans have no place in such August company; so they squat on the sidewalk of overcrowded homeless shelters in Toronto.

Perhaps, African countries may have to arrange to be invaded by Russia, China or Iran – enemies that Freeland and Trudeau can sink their teeth into – in order for our Canadian government to embrace Africans with the same warmth it offers its European kith and kin.