2016 Bob Shlehuber
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Becoming a refugee in the United States wasn't a happy choice; it was painful choice I was pushed to take because all the other options are horrifying.
Most newcomers claimed asylum at the Vancouver airport.
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I came to the camp not knowing what to expect and so worried about what I would see and feel. Instead, I left with feelings of hope, pride and sadness, and many lessons and gifts of the heart that I will forever cherish.
Even those Canadians reporting the highest knowledge about immigration history believe we have always been welcoming. Yet the country's history offers more than enough examples of restrictive immigration practices to suggest that there is at least a bit of ignorance among those of us presuming the most knowledge.
Our arrival in Canada started in earnest after the 1983 anti-Tamil riot in Sri Lanka. The mass exodus accelerated in the last decade of the last century, resulting in largest Sri Lankan Tamil population outside of Sri Lanka. Since then, collectively the lives of Tamils were "rewired".
The most important message I could share from my experience growing up and coming over to Canada is that being a refugee doesn't last a lifetime. It's an experience that lasts but a few short years and opens the door to a life full of opportunities to learn, grow and succeed.
It was almost 30 years ago. War has began. The sounds of chirping birds were replaced with blasting bombs. My husband had come back from town to get me and my daughter. We are leaving tomorrow morning. It was the beginning of our journey. A journey to a new place, a new beginning.
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For those of us with the luxury of not being consumed by grief, now is the best time to talk about issues related to terrorism, such as racism, Western exceptionalism, refugee policy and hate crimes. Post-tragedy, we're engaged enough to pay attention to the important issues we usually ignore.
"These same people we're bringing into Canada ... are the main victims of these terrorist groups."
"Whenever you take on something as big as this, you have to ask yourself, where are those resources coming from..."
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The "interlinked mega-crises" in Iraq and Syria have uprooted 15 million people.
Samatar was a human rights worker in Somalia, was kidnapped and fled after his life was threatened by terrorist group Al Shabab.
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The federal leaders didn't hold back.
Having spent the first part of my life living in Somalia, Canada was a beacon of light. I came to Canada in 1993 as a refugee, and was welcomed with open arms. Coming to Canada was not just an opportunity to feel safe -- it quickly became home. Sadly, our nation has lost its way. What motivates me to run in this election is a reflection of my journey from being a refugee living in social housing, to becoming a lawyer, and advocating on behalf of all Canadians. The Canada I knew in the 1990s was one that welcomed refugees and new immigrants openly, striving to ensure equal opportunities for all.