Group looks for support to sponsor Syrian refugees

Group looking to sponsor Syrian refugees to hold meeting Thursday at Kimberley Public Library

Last week Premier Christy Clark said that B.C. was prepared to take in 3,500 refugees from Syria and Iraq.

“The federal government has asked us to welcome 3,500 refugees as part of this, and we’ve said yes, we think we can do that,” Clark said Wednesday. “Our job in British Columbia is to welcome them, and to make sure that we as communities and a province do everything that we can to make sure that they get the best possible start, so those refugees can start contributing to our society and be a part of our society, because that’s what they want. And that’s what we need.”

Some of those refugees could be coming to Kimberley.

A meeting will be held this Thursday morning at 10 a.m. at the Kimberley Public Library (upstairs) to gather support for sponsoring Syrian refugees.

Peggy Frederikse says the group is small right now, but is hoping there is community support out there.

“We have the backing of the five Kimberley churches who will be assisting with sponsoring. We don’t know the exact numbers yet but it’s possible two families.”

The process has begun, Frederikse says, they are talking to all  levels of government and looking at the paperwork involved, looking for housing and raising funds. But it’s a big task and they are hoping for more help.

She also realizes that there is a great deal of fear involved in the refugee issue, but she hopes compassion rules.

“I understand people have fears. That’s why we’d like to see an indication of support. We’re hoping people will realize that these refugees are coming from a camp, where they’ve been for years. There’s no fear involved here, this is hugely humanitarian. Fear shouldn’t be there.”

If you’d like more information, please call Peggy at 705-787-8252.

Premier Clark said the number, timing and security screening of refugee claimants is up to Ottawa.

‘I accept their assurances that they can do a very rigorous screening process for everyone that we’re welcoming into the country in the time that they’ve set out for it,” Clark said.

With a file from Tom Fletcher, Black Press