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We need to address racism in Manitoba

The organization “Hire a Refugee” has highlighted the  rise in racism and racist discrimination which has been occurring toward refugees in Manitoba.  This sends a message that is incongruent with the diversity and multicultural beliefs held by the majority of Canadians and specifically Manitobans, so I am writing this blog to raise awareness about this situation.  

1) As a result of refugees we now have more opportunities for jobs in Manitoba, because refugees like all of us need food, clothing, housing and education.   All of these add to the economic growth that is needed in our province and adds job opportunities.  To look at it another way, if there had been no immigrants to Manitoba over the last 150 years, we would have a much smaller population and significantly fewer jobs!

2) It is important to understand that the refugees we are receiving from Syria, Iraq and many other countries have often spent many years in a refugee camp.   They have often lost friends and family to violence and horrific circumstances including car bombs.   Many have been at the front lines in fighting terrorism and terrorist groups like ISIS and have suffered as a result.  The refugees are coming to Manitoba to work hard and to participate in our Canadian society.   Yes, many need help, but they are also people who will make a very positive contribution to our society and will help efforts to decrease terrorism and to build a stronger more diverse Manitoba.

The web site “Hire a Refugee” has been receiving negative messages including the following. (My apologies for the profanity, but I feel it is necessary to demonstrate verbatim the level of hate that is being spread by these racists.)
  • WTF why only refugees were here don't need no MF taking over jobs" - N**** T*******
  • How bout hire a canadian or fck off," -D*** W**** E****
  • I have dog shit to be cleaned it pays what you take" -D***** D******
  • “F*** the Refugees”
  • “F*** them”
  • “F*** you”

These comments are defamatory and inappropriate.  I have written to the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and to the Honourable Heather Stefanson, the Minister of Justice in Manitoba to investigate this situation and to ask them to act to address it. I also see we need to take a broader view and look at our city, encouraging awareness and supporting the efforts to have Winnipeg designated a Human Rights City, and our province Manitoba becoming a Human Rights Province where understanding of others and empathy towards others is chief among our values. 

It is important to recognize that many Manitobans who are not refugees are struggling to find work.   For example, more must be done to help those who are 50 to 65 who are looking for work as many, even when well qualified, are having difficulty finding a decent job in an environment rife with cutbacks.  The efforts to find employment can be broadened and Hire a Refugee has indicated that while they are primarily focused on helping refugees, they are also ready to help others.  Let us work together to find solid solutions for all who want to work in Manitoba. 

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