The Canadian Council on Refugees has issued an open letter to the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties, asking them to agree to a set of principles as they discuss and debate immigration and refugee issues and policy. Here is the letter:
“We are writing because we are concerned about how refugees and migrants in Canada may be characterized during the upcoming federal election campaign.
“We welcome thoughtful discussion on complex issues related to migration, and recognize that there are many legitimate perspectives.
“We are also conscious that refugees and migrants are easily victimized in political debates. In many countries around the world, especially during election campaigns, refugees and migrants have been talked about in ways that insult their dignity and humanity, contribute to xenophobia and racism, and are frequently grounded in distortion and misinformation.
“We believe that every leader, every candidate, and every political party, has a role to play in preventing this from happening in Canada. We therefore ask you to engage in discussions about migration in ways that recognize:
- Our shared humanity,
- That Canada finds opportunity through diversity,
- That refugees strengthen our communities,
- That refugees help build our economy,
- That Canada has legal obligations to respect and uphold the human rights of those fleeing persecution
“We believe that how we respond to refugees, and how we talk about vulnerable migrants, is an important part of our collective identity.
“We want to be a country that welcomes refugees, that respects the dignity and human rights of vulnerable migrants, and that treats them fairly.
“We know Canadians value compassion, equality and safety for all.
“In the upcoming federal election campaign, we call on you to demonstrate your leadership by respecting these principles and speaking out when they are undermined by others”.
The CCR is also asking organizations to join in signing the letter.
The federal election will be held in October 2019. For more information about the election, including how to ensure you are on the voters lists, visit Elections Canada.