On World Refugee Day, Halifax supporters have one main message to the government: don’t let support slip.
Halifax joined communities across Canada in hosting a refugee walk. A large group of adult and children braved the driving rain on Saturday afternoon, walking from the Garrison Grounds to the Halifax Central Library.
Dressed in ponchos with noisemakers, many carried signs saying, “No one is a refugee by choice.”
“Last year, Canada was a world leader on refugee issues and we’d like to continue that,” said Evelyn Jones, a refugee sponsorship co-ordinator with the Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS).
Canada’s immigration plan for 2017 is to assist 40,000 refugees.
“We just don’t want to see the numbers drop,” Jones said.
‘Everything’s going well’
Mohammed Ali came to Canada from Somalia to escape war and famine. Through an interpreter, he said Saturday before the walk began that “everything’s going well.”
“He feels really at home [here],” said Ali’s interpreter.
The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s last report on immigration stated 11,600 immigrants came to Atlantic Canada in the first nine months of 2016. The report, however, stated many didn’t stay because of long processing times.
Nova Scotia’s immigration department said about 4,800 people came to live in the province in the first 10 months of 2016. In a release, it said that’s the highest number in decades.
This is the 4th consecutive year for Halifax’s refugee walk.