Immigrant group wants Canada to accept 10,000 Palestinians, provide ‘free’ social services

Saskatoon Open Door Society, a federally-funded immigrant aid society, earlier petitioned Parliament to accept at least 10,000 people from Gaza. It has 349 signatories as of writing.

Immigrant group wants Canada to accept 10,000 Palestinians, provide ‘free’ social services
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Select Canadian groups are advocating refuge for ten times more displaced Palestinians in Canada than initially pegged by the Trudeau Liberals.

Saskatoon Open Door Society, a federally-funded immigrant aid society, earlier petitioned Parliament to accept at least 10,000 people from Gaza. They received $1.3 million last year.

Humanitarian Visa applications opened on January 9 with a quota of 1,000 displaced Palestinians. Petition E-4959 called the current quota “unreasonable” and “inhumanely restrictive.”

Sultan Ali Sadat, a director with the immigrant aid group, introduced the petition later sponsored by New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan on Friday. It has 349 signatories as of writing.

“This is necessary to address the scale of the crisis and to provide refuge to those in urgent need of protection and assistance,” it said

The petition also asked that Gazans gain access to the same free medicare, social services and legal counsel as Ukrainian war refugees, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

Advocates have repeatedly challenged the cap given none existed for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russia-Ukraine war. 

Grace Batchoun, the Palestinian-Canadian co-founder of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, condemned the "double standard" of Ukrainian refugees receiving different treatment. 

More than 210,000 Ukrainian refugees have come to Canada since 2022, according to earlier estimates this year.

"We all see the double standards, we all see the hypocrisy, and it hurts us," she said, noting that no competition should exist for humanitarian visas. 

“People in and around Rafah are very exposed to death, to starvation, to bombardment,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said on February 29. “Before I speak more publicly on it, we still have some diplomatic work to do.”

Last December 21, he waived immigration rules to grant special permits to a limited number of Gazans entering Canada. 

A total of 986 applications were received by the end of March, according to an Inquiry Of Ministry. The majority of applicants are men and boys. 

“The Department of Immigration cannot finalize applications until clients have exited Gaza,” said the Inquiry. Only 14 are known to have left Gaza, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

“I would like to stress it is extremely difficult to leave Gaza and may not be possible,” Minister Miller earlier told reporters. The onus is on Israeli authorities to conduct mandatory security checks in the war zone. 

After the fact, the Government of Canada will require documentation for successful applicants to enter Canada. “There will be a … very intensive [process] from a security perspective,” said Miller, which will include biometrics in Cairo.

“The Israelis have their say,” he told reporters on December 21. “They will screen people and decide whether they leave or don’t leave.”

The Open Door Society referred to their treatment of Gazans as “inequitable and highly discriminatory.” 

On February 29, Minister Miller claimed Israel conducted “the largest hostage taking in the world” in Gaza and acknowledged the resettlement program could fail. “We are all failing Gazans at this point,” the minister said.

The Government of Canada has indicated it will not conduct rescue missions in the Gaza Strip to rescue successful applicants.

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