There needs to be political will.
That was the message at a public forum held last night at Vancouver City Hall on the Syrian refugee crisis.
“I came from Syria as an Iraq refugee.”
Nada Jabbar sits intently among the sea of attendees.
She came here to listen to solutions to an ongoing crisis half a world away.
A place she escaped, as a refugee, coming to Vancouver just last year.
She echoes many of the speakers calls for Canada to green light more refugees, and for a speedier family reunification process.
“Increase the number of the people. For eight years when I went to the UN office there, they said you didn’t meet the criteria.”
Around 300 people flooded into City Hall for the public forum on the crisis, many calling for immediate action.
Mayor wants 100,000 refugees accepted over next five years
The Mayor of Vancouver, Gregor Robertson, renewed his call for action. He wants to lobby Ottawa to take in at least 20,000 refugees every year by 2020.
“The federal governments over the years have slowly chopped that number back, and now we are down below 7000 (a year) refugees being admitted into Canada, so there are a number of us who want to see that number come back up.”
He says city staff is reviewing how to become a “sanctuary city” and says the city has contributed funds to the construction of a new “Welcome House” for refugees.