The shocking photo of a toddler’s lifeless body washed up on a Turkish beach has shone a bright light on the migrant crisis in Europe.
The issue is also having an impact on Canadian politics.
It had been reported that the boys’ father, Abdullah, had his refugee claim rejected by the Canadian Government.
But Tima Kurdi, who lives in Coquitlam, told reporters today it was her other brother’s claim.
Three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned after the boat he was on with his family capsized. The family was fleeing from Syria, trying to reach Greece via Turkey. Both his mother Rehand, and his 5-year-old brother Galib also drowned in the crossing. The father, Abdullah Kurdi, survived.
“They didn’t deserve to die”, says B.C. aunt
The Coquitlam aunt of the two boys spoke out about her brother’s pain at losing his family, saying they were going for a better life.
She described Abdullah’s despair at trying to save his son’s lives, and said only an end to the war in the Syrian region was quote, “needed to stop future tragedies.”
“I don’t blame the Canadian Government. I blame the whole world.”
Tima says a memorial will be held this Sunday.
Canada’s Immigration Minister under fire for refusing refugee application
Federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander has temporarily suspended his re-election campaign, saying he needs to focus on the immigrant crisis in Europe. This followed the original story that his department turned down Tima Kurdi’s request to to sponsor the family, which we now know was incorrect.
Fin Donnelly, who is running for re-election for the Federal NDP in Port Moody-Coquitlam, told CKNW that the boy’s aunt came to him earlier this year, asking for help to bring them to Canada.
Speaking wit Jon McComb, Donnelly says he delivered a letter to the federal immigration minister, encouraging him to approve a sponsorship application.
“And we had a glimmer of hope that the government would act. Of course, we then waited, and waited for days, which turned into weeks, and then months. And then of course the house rose and the election was called.”
He says the next he heard from the aunt, she had just seen the photos of her relatives on the beach.
Donnelly says Canada needs to increase the number of Syrian refugees it accepts.
Listen to the full interview with NDP MP Finn Donnelly on The Jon McComb show this morning.
‘Canada’s response to crisis pales in comparison to the need’
Janet Dench is the Executive Director of The Canadian Council of Refugees and she says Canada is not doing enough to help Syrian refugees.
“…there is also a need for Canada to open it’s own doors. Our welcome of Syrian refugees has been, at best ,I would say tepid and slow to come. The numbers originally made available in 2013 was a tiny number of 1,300. The numbers announced in January this year were a tiny bit higher at 10,000, but it was over three years. So, again, not a decisive response at all given the scale…of the crisis. If we compared how Canada took in more than 40,000 South East Asian refugees at the height of the so-called “boat people crisis”… so we have the capacity to do far more…Canada is not living up to it’s usual tradition of opening the doors to refugees”
Burnaby man says slow immigration process is risking lives
A Metro Vancouver man who immigrated from Syria decades ago is frustrated Canada is working at a snails pace to process the few thousand refugees they’ve agreed to accept. Burnaby falafel shop owner, Hisham Wattar, says he’s just learned his sister’s immigration to Canada will take another 42 months to process. She’s been in Egypt since fleeing Syria in 2011, and Canada approved her application a year ago.
“It’s really no words to describe… it’s just… no wonder I’m seeing other people taking those boats and risking their lives.”
He also says his brother, who remains in Syria, is trying to send his 18 and 24-year-old kids to Turkey now. He’s terrified the journey will kill them, as it has so many others.