Op-Ed: Antidote to a polarizing election: let’s work together to bridge the divides

October 28, 2019 | Published by Hill Times | By Debbie Douglas, Chris Friesen, Stephan Reichhold, Sarosh Risvi, Katie Rosenberger

What can we conclude from a federal election that resulted in a minority government reflecting stark regional and, in some cases, urban/rural divides?

That we need to work together to bridge those divides.

And with a minority government, we’ve all been given a golden opportunity to do just that.

Let’s make the most of the fact that Canada isn’t painted solely red, dark blue, light blue, orange, green—or, if we’re talking skin colour, white.

Let’s appreciate that we live in a diverse, liberal and well-functioning country — even as it faces uncertainty due to climate change and economic restructuring. Even as it strains under polarizing income inequality, and a hyper-local focus that can make us think in terms of “me” not “we”.

For Canada to bridge those divides, this has to be about “we”, because we are in this together.

That is what vibrant, functioning democracies do. They move beyond election slogans.

For the next while, it’s not Time For You To Get Ahead or In It For You or being On Your Side in particular or anyone else’s. Those ads are now in the dustbin of #elxn43 history.

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Abbotsford Today: Refugees are just like our grandparents

October 16, 2019 | Author: Richard Belcham, Executive Director, Inasmuch Community Society.

Published by Abbotsford Today: http://www.abbotsfordtoday.ca/refugees-are-like-our-grandparents/

Maybe it’s easy to look at the folks crossing the border irregularly and claiming asylum and think it has nothing to do with us.

Or maybe it’s easier to think that these refugee claimants are nothing like us. Or maybe we should simply view it as a modern day phenomenon.

In the Fraser Valley though, and Abbotsford in particular, we’d be wrong.

You don’t have to go too far back in Abbotsford’s history to find stories of people fleeing persecution. Maybe they’re not women’s rights activists from the Middle East, or political campaigners from the Horn of Africa, but they were fleeing the horrors of war and persecution for their religious beliefs and identities nonetheless.

And the very real costs of the choices they made are not so very different to refugees we see today.

Take the Mennonites who settled in the Fraser Valley as an example. They left their lives and homes in Ukraine and the Netherlands and Prussia and sought safety and freedom in the relatively new land of Canada.

They too came in search of a better, safer life.

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CKNW Radio 980: The Jon McComb Show

October 15, 2019; CKNW Radio 980

AMSSA’s CEO Katie Rosenberger conversed with Jon McComb regarding the common misconceptions about refugees and the event “Why Should I Care? Refugees and Canada in 2019. 

Listen to the recording here: https://globalnews.ca/pages/audio-vault-cknw/

Audio Date: October 15, 2019
Audio Time: 7:00 AM

The interview starts at approximately 09:00 minutes.

CBC Radio Vancouver: On the Coast with Gloria Macarenko

October 14, 2019; CBC Radio Vancouver

AMSSA’s CEO Katie Rosenberger and former refugee Pascaline Nsekera spoke with On the Coast host Gloria Macarenko about misconceptions regarding refugees and the event “Why Should I Care? Refugees and Canada in 2019” happening on October 15, 2019 starting at 5:30 PM.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Global News Morning BC: Common misconceptions about refugees in Canada

October 12, 2019; Global News Morning BC

AMSSA is working to promote dialogue about refugees in Canada. We chat with Chief Executive Officer Katie Rosenberger and former refugee Dacious Richardson about some of the common myths around refugees and why it’s important to dispel those misconceptions.

CBC News: Canadians may not be as ‘obsessed’ over immigration this election, but it remains a key issue for parties

Liam Britten, CBC News, Posted: October 7, 2019
Read online by clicking here.

In an East Vancouver classroom with sunlight streaming through the windows, Azar Aljalki rises from his chair, stretches, shakes and then dances with about a dozen of his peers.

Aljalki, 38, is a refugee from Syria. 

He came to Canada in 2017 through a private sponsorship and now meets with fellow asylum seekers at the Vancouver Association for Survivors of Torture every week.

Their Wednesday morning movement exercises are part of a therapeutic warmup before they share their experiences escaping danger abroad and adjusting to life in Canada.

“My town [in Syria] was a good target for ISIS,” Aljalki recounted. “Before I [left], it was 7,000 missiles [in total] and on a daily basis, 10, 20.

“Because of my kids… I decided to just flee to Canada.”

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