Friday, August 6, 2010

A Wolf at Canada's Door

Refugee ChildImage by Smithsonian Institution via Flickr

In the last few weeks three people have forwarded me an e-mail message concerning old age pensions and refugees.

If you get the same e-mail, and you probably will, it has evidently been circulating for years, the message is clear and simple. Middle class Canadians are sitting around like a bunch of spineless dunderheads while the Mongolian Horde, the Yellow Peril, the Red Menace, Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, the whole Spanish Inquisition, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Idi Amin and 2000 of his favourite wives, and maybe even a few rogue kangaroos from Down Under are coming to Canada and stealing our pensions.

The anonymous writer of the e-mail makes the claim that a 'simple refugee' to Canada receives $28,920 annual income from the government while an old age pensioner 'who has contributed to the development of our big, beautiful country' during forty or fifty years receives at most a measly $12,144.


I decided to do a little research and this is what I learned from The Canadian Council for Refugees:

In Ontario refugees are entitled to a one time set up allowance to cover things as clothes, certain household items and the set up of a phone. If you want to picture this, think of the stark interior of the home of the missing Toronto teen Miaiam Makhniasnvili.

Other financial assistance may be given for one year and is received only if they don't have their own financial resources. The exact amount depends on the size of the family and is tied to the social assistance rates. In Ontario, for example, a single person receives $635 a month.

Refugees also are required to pay the Canadian government for their transportation to Canada and interest is charged on the loan. They often start their new life here with a significant debt.

Refugees are the downtrodden of the world, the persecuted, the starving. They often face torture and death in their homelands. Ashtiani, the Iranian woman who was threatened with an unjust death by stoning, would be an example of a refugee if she was allowed to come here.

E-mails like this one are cruel and mean-spirited.

It seems to me there's wolf is at our door, Canada, and he's big and bad all right.

He's also an anonymous coward with no compassion. 

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