FREDERICTON – A New Brunswick church is making the final touches on the necessities that will welcome a refugee family on Tuesday.
Brunswick Street Baptist Church has an apartment ready, groceries in the fridge, clothing and all other necessities for the family of six, originally from Iraq.
“It generally takes a long while but the government’s kind of sped things up,” said Sheila Ross, one of the church members organizing the effort. “You know, bringing the 10,000 people from Syria, the 3,000 from Iraq so it’s fast-tracked.”
It was natural for the church to agree when they were asked if they could help a family displaced by the refugee crisis.
Brunswick Street has brought in families from Bosnia, Kosovo, Liberia – as far back as the late seventies when they accepted refugees from Vietnam dubbed “the boat people.”
They applied for a family in June. The family is arriving Tuesday.
“No matter what their circumstances were before they were displaced, we’re very hopeful that the concerns and fears they have will be laid a little bit to rest by what they see,” Ross said.
“That we do care about them and we’re going to take good care of them.”
Federation of Canadian Municipalities want to help
Fredericton’s mayor Brad Woodside said a recent board meeting of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities exposed their urge to help.
“There should be some planes over there bringing people over here right now,” he said.
In the meeting, the Federation unanimously agreed to call on Ottawa to show more leadership.
“We’re saying, Prime Minister, show us what we can do, tell us how we can partner, tell us how we can help bring this country together to show the rest of the world that we’re compassionate people and we have room,” he said.
Premier Brian Gallant’s government sent a letter urging Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to allow more refugees into New Brunswick.
There hasn’t been a response, Gallant said.
“We as a province will continue to raise our hand and say we’ll do whatever we can to help. No matter who forms the next government, we’ll be ready to open up our doors and accept more refugees to play our role,” he said.
Since 2010, New Brunswick has settled 33 Syrian refugees.
But over 40 Baptist churches across the Maritimes have taken in families over the past couple of months, or are preparing to sponsor a family.