Calgary, AB, Canada / News Talk 770 (CHQR)
December 02, 2015 06:49 am
Alberta is expected to get 850 Syrian refugees by year’s end.
Emerging from a closed-door meeting, Immigration Minister John McCallum says they discussed three main priorities: “housing, housing and housing.”
800 of the 850 coming to Alberta are privately sponsored, the other 50 by the government.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Syria is a “middle income” nation, so the refugees won’t be starting from scratch, but “it won’t be all chocolate and roses” either.
“We will also have concerns with language training, to make sure people have the opportunity to pick up English language skills in order to be able to integrate into the workplace,” Nenshi told reporters.
Two property companies have also stepped up with offers of discounted rental units for refugees.
Boardwalk is offering up at least 350 units at a discounted rate, while Mainstreet has 200 units with 90 days free rent or at a discount over 12-months.
McCallum is applauding the work of private sponsors like those two companies, trying to help Syrian refugees.
But housing is just one need, according to Calgary Catholic Immigration Society CEO Fariborz Birjandian.
“Health, education, employment, civic participation, community engagement, they’re all here together,” Birjandian said. ”It is not one organization or one person initiative. It’s a community collaborative initiative we are doing.”
Ottawa is trying to find enough planes for the airlift. Canadian airlines are being asked which ones are interested in taking part. Carriers must respond by Friday and the planes must have at least 200 seats. Military aircraft will be used if necessary.
McCallum said Tueday that in over the next year, as many as 50,000 Syrian refugees could be resettled in Canada.
Meanwhile, Hungary’s prime minister suggests Germany has been spearheading a secret deal to be revealed soon that would see 500,000 refugees from Syria accepted into EU countries.