Board passes motion in response to the refugee crisis

Many of us are descended from refugees, from people who
fled a homeland to find freedom from persecution, from poverty and from
oppression. Fleeing is never easy as it usually involves the loss of place, of
people and at times of one’s life.

Canada, as we all know, was not a place that European Jews trying to flee
from Hitler’s Germany and Europe could come to: None is too many was the
feeling in government about how many Jews should be allowed into Canada.

Today, we are seeing desperate people seeking refuge here, walking in
snow and cold to cross borders, losing their toes, fingers and more to come to
Canada. They cross through frozen fields and forests because of the Safe Third
Country Agreement that makes it virtually impossible for a refugee in the USA
to make a refugee claim at a proper border crossing in Canada.

On February 22, 2017, the Board of Congregation Emanu-El passed the
following motion:

Whereas:
every week, the Congregation of The Emanu-El of Victoria says, during the Torah
service’s Prayer for Canada, “May we never turn away any peoples seeking refuge
in our land of plenty”; 

And
whereas: given the anti-refugee and anti-Muslim measures proposed and being
enacted in the United States, it is our obligation as a community to actively
live this statement; 

And
whereas: the United States may not be a Safe Country for refugees as defined by
the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States;

And
whereas: national organizations of lawyers, physicians, religious leaders,
academics, refugee and civil liberties groups, have all called for a suspension
of the Safe Third Country Agreement; 

And
whereas: we recognize that refugees in the United States now may have to find
dangerous and potentially life-threatening ways to flee into Canada as they
cannot avail themselves of regular port of entry processes to claim refugee
status;

Therefore:
The Board of Congregation Emanu-El directs the President to communicate to the
Prime Minister of Canada, and also to our local Members of Parliament, the
contents of this motion and the following message:  

To the Prime
Minister: Speaking for the members of Congregation Emanu-El of Victoria BC, we
strongly urge you to act immediately to suspend for 90 days the Safe Third
Country Agreement

To our
MPs: Speaking for the members of Congregation Emanu-El of Victoria BC, we
strongly urge you to work towards the immediate suspension for 90 days the Safe
Third Country Agreement

Dr.
Richard Kool

Director,
Board of Congregation Emanu-El

Published by

congregationemanuelvictoria

An inclusive, warm, and progressive Conservative synagogue in Victoria, B.C.

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