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New County group will sponsor 15-member Syrian family

Carlyn Moulton

Carlyn Moulton

Efforts are under way by a new County group to bring a family of 15 Syrian refugees to the area.

About 75 interested citizens attended a meeting at the Bloomfield Town Hall organized by Carlyn Moulton.

“I am completely overwhelmed, and gobsmacked, by all the people coming forward,” she said. “About three weeks ago I posted a little post on Facebook saying I couldn’t stand reading the news anymore and thought a few friends might come out and sponsor a Syrian family. One thing has lead to another and there’s another 100 people who have said they’re interested in being apart of what we’re doing tonight.”

What started as an information meeting ended with the formation of the ‘Prince Edward County Syrian Refugee Fund’ (PECSRF) six sub-committees, a website at and pledges of more than $40,000. The government will contribute $22,000. Among attendees were representatives from many of the County’s churches – some able to share background information on how best to help refugees.

Since the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011, 11 million Syrians have been displaced, or about half of the entire country. Four million of them have fled across Syria’s borders, and 75 per cent are women and children.

The group is partnering with Lifeline Syria, Ryerson and the Christie Refugee SAH to sponsor the 15-member family. They are expected to arrive in four to eight weeks. Partnering means immediate help, whereas other routes could take one to two years for a family to arrive. Ryerson University’s assistance includes handling the paperwork and issuing receipts and the monthly payments.

Among discussion is whether this family would be better off living in Belleville where services they need are within easy reach – including the school for the deaf and English as a Second Language schools. Housing is also cheaper and Belleville also has a mosque.

“This family is complicated,” said Moulton. “There’s 15 of them. The mother is pregnant with the baby due at the end of Novemeber. The 45-year-old father is a former grocery store owner. The 71-year-old widowed grandmother has knee pain, back pain, diabetes and an ulcer. She needs a wheelchair.”

The sons are 18, 17, 14, 8 (twins) and 2. The daughters are 15, 13, 10 and 9 (twins), plus the baby. Their levels of education, she noted, are low as the family has been living in a refugee camp for the past six years.

“With this outpouring of help I think we are going to be able to sponsor more than one family,” said Moulton, noting she has been informed about another group of 12 farmers that may do better in a rural area.

The next meeting is set for Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Wellington United Church hall. A representative from Lifeline Syria is expected to 7p.m.


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  1. Richard says:

    Who ever is calling others racists, why is it every time someone disagrees with you you have to call them a racist.
    Our province in the past supplied low income housing to Muslims, no Christian handicapped people allowed and built a high school on Toronto for blacks only, now that is racism

  2. Carlyn says:

    If some choose to reach out a helping hand to some of the very desperate families who are in an untenable position, we are following a great Canadian tradition that has included welcoming Italians, Jews, Hungarians, Vietnamese, Cambodians and many others who have faced difficult times. Our collective shame has been those times when we have turned them away and left them to die. That’s not who we are. And no, we can’t help everyone but yes, we can help some. We can do more than one thing at a time. The same people who are doing this are also involved in many other local charitable initiatives. This effort includes churches, service groups, individuals – all of whom want to find a way to help in the face of so many millions facing desperate choices and trying to save their children. We are a generous and determined community. We can give safety and shelter to a few desperate people. And this particular family has been completely vetted, but also identified as being at high risk for their personal survival and safety. So it’s about giving these children a chance at life. One family at a time.

  3. Julia says:

    I want to say how proud I am of this community. To all the supporters, to the people donating, to the group and committees. How amazing to see in one night just under $30,000.00 raised! All of these hard working people donating their hard earned money for an amazing cause.(I also know that these are the same people who give here in our community for what is being called our OWN) Givers are givers. I remember being of an age to learn and understand about the holocaust and to this day 50 years later..the question is, How could we not have done something? I think when our children and grandchildren ask us 10 and 20 years down the road ,when Syrians have all been banished and there country taken by ISIS terrorist, we will be able to say that in some small but very significant way we did what we could. To the people who obviously feel different about this, of course you are entitled to your opinion, but please if your interest lies with our OWN, then please pool your money and resources and help where you can. You may not find a family banished from there home, burnt from under them, or a mother watching her children starve to death, or a family just waiting to be raped and murdered but the difference is that you can try to and should help a family live a better life and we are just trying to help a family live.

  4. Kevin says:

    To all the bleeding heart do gooders, I just want to exercise my liberty and free speech to “vote Marnie, and Family of Four!!! Yeh, that was me, being sincerely and unapologetically sarcastic. I’m not a racist. I am in fact a visual minority who happens to have a whole lot of common sense, education, and am self sustaining.

  5. Susan says:

    Nothing racist has been said.

  6. judy kennedy says:

    I stand by everything I said. AND Anyone who says things like, “these people” is highly suspect. Some of you are so out of touch and racist, you don’t even get it.

  7. old local says:

    This is free speech ! It should absolutely NOT be shut down by the fine administration of this site ! If you do not like what you are reading then stop looking for it. This is not forced upon anyone, you are coming to get it. This site is being moderated well now, and no further censorship is necessary. Feel free to disagree !

  8. Young family of four says:

    This family will clean up on child benefits !
    I was just on the government site benefit calculator, because they have 11 children under 18 years of age they qualify for $4238.00 per month assuming they have 35,000.00 per year income from either welfare or a job. That does NOT include the universal child benefit or any other other child benefit cheques.
    This also assumes that none of the children are disabled in which case they would get a great deal more money. Be great for this family, ouch for the rest of us though 🙁

  9. Susan says:

    For once I agree with our Prime Minister who says these proposed immigrants need to be properly screened. I suppose he is unworthy and under the logic expressed here is a racist and hateful.

  10. Marnie says:

    Safety First – what a misnomer. You open your arms to strangers of unknown background and consider it safe. I clearly remember when the Boat People came to the county. One of the individuals involved in their sponsorship later confided to me that one of the youths had been actively involved in warfare. Somehow I could not quite see him fitting in with the other teens at the junior prom. Did we not later have gangs of these people in Toronto? How can you say with such confidence that we are safe from future repercussions if we open our country to these refugees? Where do you get such divine insight? You may be Safe but you cannot assure the doubters that we will not one day be sorry.

  11. Matt says:

    I am glad to see this type of action being taken. It gives me faith in humanity…until I read the comments section and read the selfishness and myopic view of some out there. It doesn’t matter if these people would help us if the shoe were on the other foot. It should simply be about trying to help someone in need. Although there are people at home that definitely need assistance too they at least live here where they aren’t being attacked by their own government with chemical weapons. I feel like if you truly feel that more needs to be done here then do more here. Don’t judge others for simply helping whom they choose. Help is help and we should help anybody we can. Life is too short to be putting others down for helping. They should be applauded and joined.

  12. Safety First says:

    Same old tired rhetoric from you Marnie, and people like you. Its as predictable as the sun rising in the East.

    Likely also say things like “ALL Lives Matter!” and “theres a war on the police!” and think Donald Trump has some good ideas.

    To the people organizing and helping with this helpful initiative, I hope you don’t come on here to check the comments. You’re doing good in this world and we need more people like you. And less people like Marnie.

  13. Sue3 says:

    This has nothing to do with ‘hate’ or ‘being racist’.
    It’s about keeping your country safe. Of course there are innocent refugees among them. But opening the door to thousands of people without intensive screening is ridiculous. The media is putting the number at 4 million displaced people. How many are legitimate refugees? Look at the number of photos showing groups of young men, with no women or children among them. If even 25% of them are young men, there would be a million able to go back and fight for their country. Why are they not doing that? They need to be able to take care of themselves, and if Canada can assist with that, then, by all means, do so. The root problem needs to be solved. Taking in refugees does absolutely nothing to solve the problem.

  14. Marnie says:

    Aptly put Gary. Those criticizing the posters opposed to welcoming Syrian refugees are dripping a venom of their own. We still have free speech I believe.

  15. Gary says:

    I don’t feel that people expressing their views on immigration should be cast as racist or hate. You want to shutdown any voice that doesn’t agree with yours.

  16. judy kennedy says:

    An ugly racist underbelly has been exposed here. It is sad. I think it’s time the administrator of this site put a stop to what is thinly veiled hate speech.

  17. CE says:

    Maybe Countylive should close the comments on this story, so a select fews can stop embarrassing themselves.

  18. Elsie says:

    “You shouldn’t feel embarrassed for people who are standing up for a Country that looks after it’s citizens and ensures they are safe.”

    I wouldn’t. That’s not what is happening here.

  19. Safety First says:

    The fact that this is even a conversation at all is sad as hell.

  20. Susan says:

    You shouldn’t feel embarrassed for people who are standing up for a Country that looks after it’s citizens and ensures they are safe.

  21. Elsie says:

    Canada’s history as a peacekeeping nation is a great source of pride to me and these xenophobic comments are nothing short of embarrassing.

    Canada is one of the richest countries in the world. We are also a nation of immigrants. I would bet that all of the people commenting on this thread can trace their ancestry back to another country. This is how this wonderful melting pot of cultures that we call home was built.

    Decent people wanting to help the people suffering greatly through this crisis is hardly the result of “one questionable photo in the media…..”, although if that photo does inspire people to open their minds, hearts and wallets, then isn’t that a more positive outcome than apathy?

  22. Emily says:

    I don’t think you have any reason or status to shame anyone who presents a case for beginning to look after Canadians living in terrible conditions. Protecting our traditions, customs and our basic security is honourable.

  23. Safety First says:

    Some predictable responses on here from some predictable people. To me, this issue is black and white. You’re either a decent person (deep down in your core), or you’re the opposite. Shame on a lot of you.

  24. Marc says:

    ES: WHAT richer places? Canada is one of the richest places on Earth.

  25. Marc says:

    Marnie: That is ridiculous. Show me a single immigrant that has ever complained about anyone saying “Merry Christmas”. There are some corporations that don’t allow it because they are trying to be generic, but that’s a whole other ball game.

  26. @Sue – No, Col Young was an officer in the British army, who was given a land grant of 3000 acres. He scooted in and claimed land at East Lake before anybody else got here. Anyway, the point is that there were all sorts of fears raised about every single wave of refugee/immigrant that ever came to Canada. None of these fears were ever realized. And as for looking after our own first, I agree that something needs to be done to address the situation that the First Nations find themselves in, but I would suggest that the two issues are not mutually exclusive.

  27. Kevin says:

    While I’m sympathetic to the crisis, which will only worsen as time passes if not for Syria then another country, I’m disappointed that county folks are still wearing rose coloured glasses. In the real world, future wars will be brought on by food shortages and resources and not for power or genocide as in the past. This is not the same world it was 200 years ago and it’s a mistake to apply the same principles. We have to look after ourselves here at home before we can consider taking care of others. It’s a sad reality but we have to be realistic and remove emotions which are continually influenced by media. Help starts here at home – we are also in crisis mode. Maybe you want to help outsiders to make yourself feel better but I don’t believe it’s for the good of the community locally or a whole.

  28. Marnie says:

    Our first responsibility should be to our own people. Thanks to our willingness to welcome people like these with open arms today we can’t say Christmas tree without being politically incorrect. Better to send money to help them in their own country. If the tables were turned would they help us?

  29. Susan says:

    Was UEL, Colonel Henry Young who first settled here, held in Quebec? The french/catholic throwout avoids the real problems of immigration we face today. It is not Europeans that are coming with covered faces and from countries with high risk of terrorism. That is not nice to hear or read but it is factual as to where we are presently at.

  30. Yes, the Loyalists did. They were maintained in refugee camps in Quebec until the close of the war. Then they were given free land and supplies for three years.And if they had followed your paradigm of fitting in and accepting the customs of the country they came to, Ontario would today be a French-speaking Catholic province.

  31. sharp12 says:

    It is a very sad situation for these people, however, supporting a family of 15+ is completely unreasonable. Help out our own first, and , keep in mind many people FROM this County are working low paying factory jobs while not making ends meet. And you choose them over us. Question. Will they be taking over our jobs as well?

  32. Emily says:

    Parallels are far from profound. Majority of immigrants didn’t come to this country in the late 1700’s and 1800’s looking for handouts and full support. They worked hard. They didn’t ask for Christmas trees to be taken down in government buildings. They didn’t ask for the Lord’s prayer to be removed. They didn’t hide their faces so they were unrecognizable. We have given up to many customs and traditions in this country. Feeling badly for their current situation is one thing but if people are to come into a welcoming country they should accept our customs. And it is most important to ensure that these Syrians are not radicalized. And don’t make small of that. We are living in a different era and need to be very cautious.

  33. @Richard Yes, it is nice that I can go back in history and compare then and now. I write history for a living. And the parallels are pretty profound.

  34. Paul Cole says:

    So let me ask you Richard were you ok with Harper spending millions sending Canadian jets and Service Men to bomb ISIS in Syria ? Because whether you believe it or not Richard those bombs have helped displace Syrians. Harpers decisions have helped create this mess I’m embarrassed to be Canadian right now………..

  35. Richard says:

    It is nice that you all can go back in history and compare then and now as if the are the same times. They are not the same times. UEL came in support of a monarch and way of life. Person in the future came for a better life. I am sick and tried of watching the Toronto news day after day about shooting that involve Somali persons we felt sorry for and allowed into this country on a fast track bases. Harper is right slow down and check every avenue before allowing anyone in. It is a fact that ISIS has already hidden their agents among the displaced people.
    And every refugee that enters Canada receives welfare for 5 years along with complete medical.
    Remember the 500 Tamil that came by boat to Canada a few years ago and were interned so they can be deemed safe before being granted refugee status or deported. We have heard nothing about them. I bet every one of them are now living in Canada on our dime.
    Australia is the only country that is taking a stand on the invasion of their country. Turn the ship around you and not welcome here unless you follow the proper channels

  36. @Sue3 – Actually, it’s almost exactly the same. The UEL’s got government supplies and enormous tracts of free land. The sick and starving Irish were fed and looked after, in spite of the fact that they overwhelmed the population of Upper Canada. They didn’t “fit in” either. There was huge concern about the fact they so many were Catholics. Each subsequent wave of immigration was viewed with great suspicion because they had different ways, didn’t speak English, were of a different religion etc. etc., and yet their differences have been incorporated into the fabric of Canadian life and culture.

  37. Sue3 says:

    Janet – comparing to the settlers of 1784 is not the same. They didn’t arrive to free housing, free health care, welfare etc. As later settlers arrived, they came in, usually with nothing and had to make their own way, and as Emily mentioned, they fit in with those already here, and didn’t try to change the ways of the country.

  38. Emily says:

    Point taken Janet. However will this mean we have to give up more of our traditions and customs. The government is concerned in regards to radicalization and wants to ensure that those arriving are coming here for the right reasons.

  39. @Sue3 – If you look at the history of refugees in Canada, you soon begin to realize that they seldom require “years and years” of support. Given any kind of opportunity at all, they roll up their sleeves, go to work and become contributors to Canadian society. Like the United Empire Loyalists. Like the famine Irish. Like “DP’s” post World War II. Like The Vietnamese boat people. Too many Canadians have forgotten how their ancestors got here in the first place.

  40. Sue3 says:

    Janet, I think the difference is in the fact that money was being raised to help them in their own country, and help rebuild their lives.
    If the same was true in this case, if we were sending money to these people in Syria to help them get their lives back together in their own country, it would be different.
    By bringing them in we are going to end up being responsible for them for years to come. This isn’t going to help in the long run, it doesn’t solve the basic problem, and it doesn’t get them back to their own country.

  41. A few years back I had the honour of performing in a benefit concert for Tsunami Relief that raised something like $14,000 in one afternoon. I don’t remember anybody telling us that we shouldn’t be doing it because there were still people in Canada who needed help. The situation in Syria is no different, other than the fact that the disaster is man-made. These people are in dire straits. We’re a rich country. We should help.

  42. Paul says:

    Harper should have seen this coming of course people would flee, Bashar Al Assad first attacks then ISIS now the so called civilized nations are bombing the country.. Instead of sending jets on bombing missions Canada should have played a traditional role.. But wait Harper has changed Canada’s role in these types of situations…

  43. Sue3 says:

    It’s fine to do the ‘feel good’ thing, but who is paying for all of this? You’re talking about a family with 12 kids. Who is paying for the health care for the grandmother? Who is paying the medical expenses for the mother’s 12th baby? How much is it going to cost to house and feed 15 people?
    $40,000 isn’t going to begin to touch it, and that $22,000 that the government is ‘contributing’ is coming out of our pockets.
    I feel sorry for these people too, but you can’t help them all, and our country/province/community can not go broke trying to.
    This is one case where Harper is right – do it slowly and carefully with the proper screening in place.
    And all because of one questionable photo in the media…..

  44. Chuck says:

    Lucas makes a valid point. Harper would do absolutely nothing if not for public pressure. No one should be shamed for not agreeing.

  45. judy kennedy says:

    Thank you, Amanda. The rest of you–shame on you! (and Lucas, stop piggybacking on the comments section)
    LS, ES, and Heather…..your comments are nothing but xenophobic and racist.
    Canada did wonderful things in the 70s for the Vietnamese refugees. What has happened to us in the meantime??
    Have we been changed forever by the NeoCons?? I bloody hope not.
    Check your humanity–is it hung by the back door like a neglected garment? WE ARE CANADIANS.

  46. Heather says:

    Why not help your own people in your own communities and country before you help other countries.

  47. ES says:

    There r so many in our communities that need help FIRST….why not help our own, why take in those that could be taken to the richer places …

  48. Lucas says:

    When private citizens are going far beyond the shallow effort put forth by the Conservative government – it’s time for change! Stop Harper!

  49. Amanda says:

    Humanity = “our own”. There are people in crisis everywhere with varying degrees of need. Helping one group of people doesn’t rule out helping another.

  50. LS says:

    How about helping out some of our pensioners first that are trying to live on $600/month to pay for their entire month’s worth of expenses ( rent, utilities, food, prescription, transportation after the government has taken their license away, etc.), when average rent in the County is $700?!… As opposed to a refugee who can get up to $1200/month?
    I understand the plight of refugees completely, but shouldn’t we take better care of our own first?

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