Our diversity; age, gender, ethnicity, religion, gives strength and balance to who we are as Canadians from Vancouver Island to the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. We are a relatively new country building our culture and defining who we are.
In the past 10 years we have welcomed an average 250,000 new immigrants per year. Roughly 14,500 of these new immigrants are refugees fleeing war-torn or politically ravaged countries hoping for a better life for their families.
These refugees bring a wealth of talent and experience to Canada and we need to embrace that in our culture. One issue we have that prevents this in Canada is we are driven by a piece of paper. Unless you are from certain countries, we will not recognize your credentials. The other issue is most of the refugees left their country with only the clothes on their back, they didn’t pack their credentials when they left or could not find them in the rubble.
We are about to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees. This is a huge undertaking for our country and one to be celebrated. It is my hope that in this process we recognize and utilize the training and experience of these new arrivals.
There likely will be doctors, lawyers, carpenters, professors, and many other professions and trades represented in these refugees. Too many times I have seen these talents wasted. I have seen doctors having to work as care aides, professors having to work as security guards, their professions not recognized. I agree that they need to meet certain criteria for their trades and professions to be recognized but the process is very slow and cumbersome.
Immigrants enrich our culture so let’s make sure that it is a positive experience for everyone. With the exception of First Nations, our families were all immigrants to Canada at some point in time. Our diversity is our strength.
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