We can help Syrians and fight Canadian poverty too

We can help Syrians and fight Canadian poverty too Suppose a woman steps over a homeless person on the street to pick up a starving kitten and nurture it. Some would say that her charity is misdirected, that she should be helping the homeless person inst

Suppose a woman steps over a homeless person on the street to pick up a starving kitten and nurture it.

Some would say that her charity is misdirected, that she should be helping the homeless person instead. I say, “Bless her heart.” Her act of kindness, whether or not misguided, is not a wrong thing to do. Let her take care of the kitten as she is moved to do, and let her critics leap to action and help the homeless person themselves.

I have no patience for the adherence to an arbitrary hierarchy of need which, though it poses as righteousness, in effect advocates that nothing be done.

There are many logical arguments against bringing in 25,000 refugees in the few short weeks since our federal election and the end of the year – or even the end of February: it’s too fast to properly screen them for our safety; there’s inadequate time for preparations to house them, let alone accommodate them in our medical, education and employment systems. I agree. It’s a monumental undertaking and there will inevitably be mistakes and hardship.

However, I have no respect for the argument that we should not bring in these refugees on the grounds that there are many of our own people in need. Have we not had years to work on our challenges of poverty and homelessness with no groundswell of grassroots charity to impose our will on government to solve our domestic social issues? Would turning our backs on the refugees lead to radical and costly policies that would right local injustices? No.

So, let’s celebrate the astonishing outpouring of kindness in the hearts of many who would embrace the challenges of providing a home for these particular people in need. I say, “Bless their hearts and bless the heart of our country.” This heroic act of kindness is not a wrong thing to do. Let us move forward on its momentum with an equally praiseworthy purpose to the goal of raising up our own poor and homeless as well.

Sharon Westberg

Ibex Valley

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