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New Democrats have outlined the next steps in the NDP’s five-point plan to help Syrian refugees.

“Time and time again, when humanitarian crisis has struck, Canadians have answered the call with generosity,” said NDP Foreign Affairs critic Paul Dewar. “Let us move forward with concrete measures focused on saving lives now, and a stable plan for helping in the years to come.”

After resettling 10,000 government-sponsored Syrian refugees by the end of this year, New Democrats will increase the number of government-sponsored Syrian refugees by 9,000 per year for the next four years for a total of 46,000 refugees resettled.

François Crépeau, United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, has called for the Western World to resettle 1 million Syrian refugees over the next five years. Canada’s share of the global total would be 9,000 refugees per year.

In addition, New Democrats will: fast-track private sponsorships with no cap, remove the bureaucratic obstacles to private sponsorships, treat all refugees equally by ending Canada’s policy of discrimination on the basis of religion; and, provide temporary resident permits for Syrians who wish to come and stay temporarily with family.

New Democrats will also make the qualification process less bureaucratic. Specifically, we’ll remove the Conservative rule that makes it nearly impossible for Syrians to be designated as refugees.

If the images this week have shocked you, it is hoped they will compel you to take action.

Here are a few ways you can help:

  • People are working together to sponsor Syrian refugees. Lifeline Syria will recruit, train, and assist sponsor groups to welcome and support 1,000 refugees to resettle in the GTA. Find out more at their website: http://lifelinesyria.ca
  • The Canadian Red Cross is providing essential relief items for refugees who are still in Syria and those in Europe. Donations can be made online at their website: http://www.redcross.ca
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is collecting funds to provide a lifeline to Syrian families, including essential emergency supplies and healthcare. Donations can be made online at: http://www.unhcr.ca

“There are moments in history that define us as a people and as a country,” said NDP critic for International Development Hélène Laverdière. “With so many in dire need, this is our moment. We must act now.”