A rally held in downtown Regina Tuesday evening called for Canada to allow more refugees into the country.
Several people lined Victoria Avenue near Scarth Street holding signs that read “Canada, open your doors to refugees”, “No one is illegal”, and “Syrian children are also human”. One person on a megaphone lead the chant “We are loud, we are clear, refugees are welcome here”.
Many at the rally were critical of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his reluctance to meet with other party leaders to discuss a refugee plan. He stood by his previous commitments to bring in 20,000 refugees, although reports say Canada has only taken in approximately 2,300.
“I just don’t think it’s a priority for our current government and with the election coming up, I think it’s just important that we all be as vocal as we can,” said Michelle Apps.
“I think there’s always more to be done and we have to reevaluate constantly what our role is,” said Kai Charette.
Rally calling for Canada to allow in more refugees lines Vic Ave in downtown Regina right now. pic.twitter.com/mBDhYVIdjH
— Andrew Shepherd (@Andrew5hepherd) September 8, 2015
Those at the rally stressed the refugee crisis is a global issue and Canada must play a role to help the thousands of desperate people who are looking for a safe place to live.
Zebiba Beshir is standing in solidarity with the refugees fleeing the war-torn countries in the Middle East. She is also a refugee who left Somalia 25 years ago because of the civil war.
“Canada is a big country and it’s very generous so anybody should be coming in,” she said.
While responding to the refugee crisis over the long weekend, Harper stressed the importance of keeping Canada secure, while allowing in refugees from countries controlled by terrorists.
Other refugees at the rally, like Yonatan Michael who is from Eritrea, said Canadians can’t live in fear while thousands of refugees are still in need of help. He agrees with the necessity of doing background checks but says that shouldn’t stop Canada from opening its doors to refugees.
“Check them and then let them in and help them,” he said.
Michael came to Canada nine years ago as a refugee of Sudan and is now part of a group called Save and Rescue East African Refugees. He said refugees are not a burden on the government and are hard working people.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said Yonatan Michael was from Somalia.