As Vancouver City Council becomes the first Canadian city to formally ask the federal government to accept more refugees, a new arrival in Canada for less than a week tells council why this matters.
Facing death for being gay, twenty year old Malcom Atia fled his Ugandan home two years ago, for a Kenyan refugee camp, where he lived until last week.
He told council today more people need the opportunity he has been offered.
“I not a Syrian, but I am a refugee. And I know how it feels like to be in a situation where you need hope, but you can’t get it….where you need a country to lean as a shoulder, but you can’t get it.”
Despite the city not having the power to increase the number of refugees arriving to Canada, Chris Friesen with Immigrant Services Society of BC says what council is doing is vital.
“This is historic. The fact that the City and Council are actually stepping forward and making a public stance on this issue; the first city in Canada to do so.”
Council unanimously passed the motion today, calling for twenty thousand more refugees annually by the year 2020.