As migrants and refugees stream out of countries in the middle east, looking for somewhere to take them in, some people in Saskatchewan are looking to help.
Archdeacon Malcolm French helped sponsor an Iraqi family a few years ago, and is working with the Saint James Anglican Church to bring their relatives here too. He said the story of the Syrian boy who died earlier this week when the boat he was on capsized, hits home.
“The situation they were leaving was such hell, that his parents were prepared to get on a rickety boat in the hopes of getting to something better.”
He said he prays that no one can un-see the photo of the boy, so everyone can remember that every refugee is a real person who wants a chance at life.
“We can’t turn a blind eye to these things.”
French doesn’t understand the rhetoric of people who don’t want to bring more refugees to Canada.
“The first point is that it’s hateful, and sinful, if I can use a very unpopular word … It turns away the gifts of those people as well.”
This crisis isn’t the first time refugees have looked to Canada for help.
Marianne Skoropad has been on the refugee committee at Saint Cecilia’s Catholic Church in Regina since the Vietnamese refugee crisis in 1979.
“We went ahead and sponsored, and, to be honest with you, we fell in love with those six boys,” remembered Skoropad.
“And they had family who were in refugee camps, and soon they were asking us ‘could you help me bring my mother,’ or ‘could you help me bring my sister.'”
She said, in her experience, refugee families always ask to find work to support themselves.
Since then, the church group has sponsored hundreds of refugees, including a family from Iran who arrived in July.