Statement from Premier Bob McLeod on Syrian refugee situation

Sep 11 2015

YELLOWKNIFE (September 11, 2015) – Premier Bob McLeod issued the following statement on the Syrian refugee situation today.

Northerners, like all Canadians, have been deeply moved by the many lives lost and risks taken by refugees fleeing conflict in Syria.

Several Canadian and international humanitarian organizations are currently accepting donations to support refugees, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the Canadian Red Cross, Lifeline Syria, UNICEF, and Save the Children Canada.  We encourage Northerners who are interested in supporting Syrian refugees to consider donating to these groups. The Government of the Northwest Territories is donating $25,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as an immediate response to the crisis.

The federal government delivers a Private Sponsorship of Refugees program that allows groups of Canadians to sponsor refugees to Canada with financial and emotional support.  Many of our communities have a history of welcoming refugees through these programs, who have gone on to make great contributions to our society. We want to continue to support this approach, but we are still learning about how.

Many provinces and communities have already announced that they will be opening their doors to additional refugees this year.  Because we do not already have a role in refugee settlement services, the Northwest Territories is exploring other ways we may be able to help.  We are talking to other provinces and territories about what they are doing, and what their settlement programs entail, and we are talking to our federal partners about what other opportunities exist for our territory.

The Northwest Territories is a welcoming place, with an appreciation for the history of Canada in welcoming immigrants, particularly those displaced by conflict. We are committed to finding ways to support displaced refugees in the coming weeks.