Statement by Elizabeth May on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

OTTAWA – Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and candidate (Saanich - Gulf Islands), issued the following statement about the Syrian refugee crisis and the recent death of a three-year-old Syrian refugee and others:

“As a mother and a grandmother, I was devastated to see the photo of that poor child. I cannot imagine the unbearable grief of his father, who also lost his other boy and his wife. I offer my condolences to him and his family.

“As the Green Party leader, I expect Canada to take on its share of the responsibility in the Syrian refugee crisis, so we never see these types of images again. Stephen Harper has no credibility whatsoever on this issue, having failed to honour previous announcements.  We should ramp up the number of refugees welcomed to Canada to 25,000 and we must do more to end the conflict, including living up to our commitments to the UN High Commission for Refugees.

“The current system is almost impossible when compared to sponsorships at the time of the Vietnamese 'boat people' when Canada welcomed refugees with open arms. Now, it is expensive and loaded with obstacles."

“I condemn the inaction of Conservatives on such a pressing matter. I have been pleading with them to take action. We have dozens of cases just in my own constituency: people in Cyprus, in Turkey and Syria who urgently need help. I get direct messages from families whose children are stuck indoors all day, for days on end, because it's unsafe to play outside. Simply put, this situation is a nightmare.

“As the MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, I have directly assisted in re-uniting families and the effort that it takes is extreme. I have worked directly with the embassies and I know how understaffed they were for this crisis. It is unconscionable.

“I was so happy to reunite two families by getting the husbands of two women out of Syria. I can say from experience of helping people in Saanich Gulf Islands that our system for immigration and refugees is broken as a result of Harper's actions.”