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Council asked to support Syrian refugee efforts

UPDATE: – Committee of the Whole carried a motion to accept the Association of Municipalities of Ontario challenge to donate at least $100 to the AMO Syrian Refugee Crisis Fund.

SEPT. 22 – Councillor Bill Roberts will seek support on a motion as it relates to the Syrian refugee crisis, at Thursday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

He will ask council to support the initiative of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) challenging all its members to donate at least $100 to aid in the international effort to resettle the Syrian refugees in safe countries.

The motion also asks council to support the emergency recommendation by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to co-ordinate efforts of cities and communities across the country to amplify the effectiveness of local initiatives already under way.

The AMO hopes to raise at least $40,000 and will forward the funds to Lifeline Syria, the same organization local County residents will meet at this week’s meeting.
Lifeline Syria hopes to resettle and integrate 1,000 Syrian refugees in Ontario over the next two years, and reunite them with their families. It is a community-based initiative helping to recruit, train, and match private refugee sponsors in Ontario with Syrian refugees approved for resettlement by the federal government. Sponsors include organizations, individuals, or groups of individuals such as faith-based groups. The Ontario government has provided seed funding to Lifeline Syria to support its work but it is reliant on public donations to fulfill its mandate.

The next meeting of the new PEC Syria group is set for Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Wellington United Church Hall. That story here: New County group will sponsor 15-member Syrian family

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  1. Gilbert says:

    This comment thread reminds me why I shouldn’t read comment threads.

    Shame on you for throwing cliched, baseless claims of having culture taken away. Stop watching Fox news, and then try to keep in mind that Christianity is neither the national religion (we separate church and state, remember?) nor the original one (we colonized this country, remember?).

    And it’s $100. Get over it. The County has given more than that to all sorts of charity you may or may not agree with. If you really want to improve local poverty and transportation issues, go join the Vital Signs groups and see how you can help instead of hanging out on and whining.

  2. Chuck says:

    I don’t feel any bigotry has been shown here. Always throwing out the race or bigot card to stomp out any real discussion. To not have any concern for safety and protecting what little we haven’t given up is naive. You would have to have lived underground not to realize the very real security issues facing us.

  3. Marnie says:

    It’s not a question of being unable to enjoy Christmas because of foreigners Emily. It’s more a question of why store clerks in Canada are told not to say Merry Christmas to customers lest they offend. It’s a matter of listening to objections to the display of a Nativity scene and the idiocy of calling a Christmas tree a holiday tree. This is our country and those who want to live here should be willing to accept our customs. This does not mean they have no right to pursue their own.We should not be blackmailed by their whining.

  4. Emily says:

    I don’t think you can make it a human being issue quite so simply. All that some people believe is that if our Country is so generous to take in immigrants from another country that their sister Muslim countries will not, that they respect the values, traditions and customs of their future country of choice. Do not force Canadians to change their longstanding traditional way of life. On two other points. Immigrants did try to have pork banned from Canadian school menus. All immigrants should have a thorough security screen before setting foot here. This may come as a surprise to some but there are some foreign Muslims that would like to see the end of us.

  5. judy kennedy says:

    It is both embarrassing and instructive to see irrefutable evidence of religious bigotry and general xenophobic attitudes in the county. Of course, they are here, as everywhere, but such abysmal ignorance shames us all.
    Good people and bad people come from everywhere, that is just human nature. As such, it is not governed by race, nor creed, nor religion.
    Furthermore, with regard to certain posters, some people apparently have more empathy for cats than they do for human beings.

  6. Safety First says:


    Have you really ever “not been able to enjoy Christmas” because of foreigners?

    This may come as a shock to you, too… but I’ve been to restaurants (IN CANADA, EVEN!!) and have seen pork on the menu!!! Isn’t that just crazy!?

  7. Emily says:

    There are very few Muslim countries accepting Syrian Muslim refugees. Muslims like to immigrate to Canada for education, health system, religious freedom, social benefits and opportunity. They should adapt to the generous countries customs and traditions. A generous country such as Canada should be able maintain music and physical education in schools. Have pork on the menu. Be able to celebrate Christmas. And I do not believe it too much to ask for someone who has chosen Canada for their new country to show their face when taking the citizenship oath.

  8. Garry Lewis says:

    Maybe our council should give some money to the children living in poverty in the county charity starts at home. And to comment on Marnie post death to all infidels.

  9. Emily says:

    So who were the 3 Councilors who did not vote to support the motion? It will be nice when we have live streaming of Council meetings.

  10. Doug and Kim Taylor says:

    We agree in total with Carlyn’s comments. Bill Roberts motion and the support of Council shows empathy, humanity and leadership – much needed.

  11. Marnie says:

    Can’t help but wonder. The refugees are of the Muslim faith. There are reportedly 15 of them in the family being sponsored for the county. Is it so difficult to imagine a time when we in Canada will be outnumbered in our own country? Already we have been bullied into giving up some of our customs. It may be noble to welcome and support these newcomers but when their numbers grow strong will they be as charitable to us?

  12. Julia says:

    I am sure that many people in the county would like to live “better lives”. Canada gives us every opportunity to better ourselves.Do we as Canadians feel so entitled simply because we are born here?! Are we really comparing fixing roads and bike lanes to saving peoples lives? There is a huge difference in helping someone live “better” and helping someone “live”. There are many places my tax dollar is going to that I am not entirely happy with….but going to anyone in need, is not one of them. To the poster re: dental care, I believe that dental care is free to anyone in need 18 and under in the county. I know it was, and I believe it still is.

  13. Gary says:

    Which 3 Councilors did not support the motion??? They obviously were strong to stand up and speak for an appropriate Municipal role.

  14. Carlyn says:

    I want to thank the members of council for this gesture of support for the refugees. $100 was a gesture, a symbolic one, being made by municipalities across the country. The real support for the refugees is coming from private donors, many of them the same people who have and who will continue to support local charities. It is a good example of the golden rule in action. Everyone acknowledges that there are local needs and there are efforts to address them. But The refugee situation is extreme and urgent. Millions of people’s lives are at stake. Showing Compassion toward those in this dire situation is the least we can do.

  15. Chuck says:

    Peter you can disagree with the Councilors who didn’t support the motion but feeling ashamed is a bit much. There are many people who are not in support of this.

  16. Susan says:

    Which 3 councilors didn’t support the motion?

  17. Marnie says:

    If our councillors vote to symbolically support the Syrian refugees with a $100. donation it’s commendable but let them do it with their own dollars, not the taxpayer’s dollars.It would probably cost them about $6. each – a small deduction in their honorariums. We are all free to donate as we see fit but it should remain a personal decision supported with personal funds.

  18. Peter Fleming says:

    So let me understand this. A number of posters oppose a nominal $ 100 to help folks fleeing a brutal dictatorship and fundamentalist crazies since the $$$ should go elsewhere. One person suggests paving bike lanes. Give me a break. $ 100 might pave 10 feet, maybe.

    Another resents free dental care DONATED by area dentists. The people in question have been living under a tent for years and have extreme needs.

    Then there is the famous “what about our own people.” I agree that there are needs here but how many making this comment donate to the Food Banks, or Hospice or any of the worthy causes noted. Canada is a wealthy country – a few bucks willingly donated hurts no one. Most supporters of the Syrian family already support many causes here in PEC and are just digging deeper.

    Read Councillor Robert’s motion. A token hundred bucks. And a motion of welcome and support. The very least we could do. I am proud of the 100+ people who want to help and that all but 3 members of Council supported the motion. But a bit ashamed that even 1 Councillor opposed what was essentially a symbolic gesture. Glad that none of the 3 grinches represent me in Sophiasburgh.

  19. Susan says:

    How many children in this family? Will the fundraising cover more?

  20. Marnie says:

    Interesting that one local dental clinic offered free care for a year to children from a refugee family. How many county families could benefit from a helping hand with dental bills? In Kingston a car will be provided for use by two refugee families. Lots of our own people can’t afford a car but we expect them to use public transportation.

  21. Jack Dall says:

    Why don,t the Feds use the empty Kingston Pen. It could serve as an Ellis island. Sort out the bad weeds from the people who truly need a new start . Municipal taxes should not be used in this case.

  22. kevin says:

    This initiative was not started by council. It’s a private citizen’s group. Hands off the tax dollars. Use your own if you want.

  23. Susan says:

    Chris; I think what some people are saying is that it is not a municipal role in using tax dollars while in your reference to the Feds it does fall under their authority.

  24. Safety First says:

    Well done, council.

  25. Chris Keen says:

    Some posters seem to have forgotten that their tax dollars are already being spent, albeit reluctantly, by the federal government.

  26. kawartha dave says:

    Garry Lewis and others are correct. There should be no tax dollars go to this effort. Municipal governments should not be involved in anything except their home areas and constituents. We certainly have enough needs here that they cry poor on. Don’t forget your own residents.

  27. Paul Cole says:

    I’m all for helping clean up the mess Canada helped to create in regards to the Syrian Refugee’s however I have to agree with other posters here this should be a personal choice and not a Council item…..

  28. Garry Lewis says:

    Judy it’s not the amount it’s the principal council should not be doing this that is not what tax dollars are for

  29. judy kennedy says:

    fyi—-there are approx 25,000 people in the county–granted not all are taxpayers–some are children—but if you read the article again you will see that a minimum of one hundred dollars is being asked for….if you divide that by 25 000—you get .004 cents per person. Petty much?

  30. Marnie says:

    This is not the function of council. They are spending our money. It should be a matter of private donation at the discretion of the giver. Lots of people in the county could use some help forget the refugees.

  31. wevil says:

    no support with my tax dollars if i want to support i will do it on my own

  32. Garry Lewis says:

    I don’t think council should support the refugees those are my tax dollars I don’t pay taxes for that if people wish to support the refugees that’s fine, but don’t use our tax dollars for it. If there is extra money for that then are lots of roads in the county that can use work. A better idea would be to pave the shoulders of the roads so the bicycles have some place to ride and are not on the roads. There are to many better places for our tax dollars than to force people to support refugees, I’m not against this just not with tax dollars.

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