Syrian Refugee Debates Bring Out The Racisim & Ignorance in Cornwall Ontario by Jamie Gilcig

It’s sad when pundits…or hacks as in the case of Todd Lihou of the Seaway Media try to make hay on the suffering and misfortune of others.

I  just read a very strange and bizarre editorial by Mr. Lihou on the Syrian refugee crisis and his suggestion that there’s plenty O room here in Cornwall.

He cites how we lost population in a recent census without really understanding why, or even worse gerrymandering his data to come up with a loony position.    He cites Cornwall having jobs when in fact we don’t really.

The biggest complaint of why people leave here, especially our youngest and brightest, is a utter lack of opportunity, especially if you’re not connected to the shrinking cliques that hover around City Hall.

Cornwall, like quite a few small towns in rural Ontario does have racist undertones.    It’s boggling in that most of the guilty don’t even realize it and don’t consider themselves racist.    Terms like “rag head”, “nigger”, or “Jew me down” are quite common.     There’s a tolerance for the most part, but the racism is still there.  It’s kinda weird in that nobody wants to harm or hurt anyone, but it’s always in the room.  It’s a kinda polite ingrained form of racism.

When you confront them or call them on this then the real hate comes out as has been seen in local social media pages.   Mr. Lihou cites what sounds like something like extortion in threatening to “out” a local restauranteur who posted such comment.

I think Canada should come to the aid of all refugees as is necessary including opening our doors to true refugees that want to make their homes in our country, but does it make any sense for us to bring in 25,000 bang bang to feel good?    There are many wars currently ongoing and have been many over the last decades, under Liberal and Conservative Federal governments.   Never has there been such a call to bring in so many refugees at one time.

Here in Cornwall we get a flood of evacuees from  Kashechewan when they get flooded out.   The government of Canada flies them into Cornwall where they tear up the NAV CAN facility.    They are controlled in some ways; IE which parts of NAV CAN they can attend, and then after a week or so they are flown back home.

That costs an awful lot of money and impacts the community in many ways.     And these are our own residents, not from the other side of the planet.

Again, we need to help the refugees, but a few questions first.

  1.  Why aren’t the countries near Syria taking these folks in??   They have a common language and culture for the most part and some are actually related.
  2. Is bringing these people to Canada the best way to assist them or could we not help them temporarily over there until things calm down?  Do all of these refugees really want to resettle permanently in another country?
  3. Will the government be covering the extra burden on communities with extra amounts of refugees?  For example I have lived in Cornwall now for 12 years and still do not have a doctor.   Clinics and the hospital are crowded (and at least one substandard).   If Cornwall had an influx of a few hundred permanent families could we support that infrastructure without additional funding?

There are many factors to look at no matter which refugee crisis we face.  What’s odd is that there are many, yet Syria is attracting so much attention?

Clearly this has been a political potato with people like Todd Lihou trying to sound like they have a clue about what they are writing about, but the bottom line is that there are many ways to help refugees including bringing them to Canada, but the impact and issues of this have to be clearly looked at.

According to Wikipedia a refugee is:

“A refugee, according to the Geneva Convention on Refugees[1][2] is a person who is outside their country of citizenship because they have well-founded grounds for fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, and is unable to obtain sanctuary from their home country or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country;[1][2] or in the case of not having a nationality and being outside their country of former habitual residence as a result of such event, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to their country of former habitual residence.[1][2] Such a person may be called an “asylum seeker” until considered with the status of “refugee” by the Contracting State[1] where they formally make a claim for sanctuary or right of asylum.”

the article adds:

“At the end of 2014, there were 19.5 million refugees worldwide 14.4 million under UNHCR‘s mandate, plus 5.1 million Palestinian refugees under UNRWA‘s mandate). The 14.4 million refugees under UNHCR’s mandate were around 2.7 million more than at the end of 2013 (+23%), the highest level since 1995. Among them, Syrian refugees became the largest refugee group in 2014 (3.9 million, 1.55 million more than the previous year), overtaking Afghan refugees (2.6 million), who had been the largest refugee group for three decades.[3] As of February 2015, Turkey hosts the most refugees of any country, having 1.7 million Syrian refugees, whilst Lebanon and Jordan have by far the most refugees per capita, at c.25% and c.11% respectively.[4][5][6][7] Pakistan is second, hosting 1.6 million Afghan refugees.[8] According to the UNHCR there are 200,000 to 500,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and only 32,355 of them are registered.[

Maybe, just maybe, our tax dollars may be better served by assisting the countries like Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan than bringing refugees to Canada en masse?

Again, if they want to come to Canada and become part of our country great, that’s super, and let’s accommodate them, but let’s not play politics and dump 25,000 or more distressed people into communities (or even worse, temporary detention centres) to make some of us feel good.

What do you think dear CFN viewers?   You can vote in our Poll and post your comments below.

Should Canada Be Pushing Through 25,000 Refugees Into Canada From Syria NOV 18, 2015

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  1. It seems some people are never satisfied. Yes, the security checks may be rushed, but are being as done as thoroughly possible given the circumstances.

    New World Order?? Seriously Jules. You call this the New world Order? Sorry, no.

    Cornwall may get some refugees, but not many. NavCentre will b e used as a staging area, not a permanent / semi-permanent settlement area..

  2. What has changed? Nothing. Another country (or countries) in the midst of a civil war with “refugees” wanting to leave. That’s not the New World Order, that’s normal life now.

  3. Newton, I won’t dignify that asinine question with an answer.

  4. Jerry trying to explain to some of the pig headed people is like pulling teeth. There are over 4000 extremists who are out to do massacres and dreadful harm to all of us. The Middle Easterners cannot tell Canadians from the Yankees and Canadians and Yankees cannot distinguish a Middle Easterner from a Pakistani nor an African. The Middle Easterners are laughing and poking fun at the Yankees and Canadians. You all haven’t seen anything yet folks. The things that my husband reads in his papers would have everyone on the edge of their seat because there are also Lebanese involved in this extremism and even some Christians. God Help Us All! When bad things happen that is the only time that people will wake up.

  5. I just saw an item on Focus Ontario on Global TV that said the refugees coming to Canada have been in refugee camps for a few years, some as far back as 2011. They have been fully vetted.

  6. Looks like almost fifty comments on this story have disappeared.

  7. Jamie I had a Family Dr in Crysler but left there sometime in 2008 I believe because he was to sick to work. The Seaway Valley Community Health Care was opening and taking patients and I got in. I left there recently for personal reasons but I found out the the place I was going to before was now taking new patients. So I just got back in with them this past week. If you just want to stay in Cornwall to see a Dr fine but I don’t mind driving about 40 minutes to get good Medical services.

  8. Yes, Furtz the comments are gone. What happened??

    As for doctors my family doctor is in Ottawa. I’ve thought about changing to one here, if I could find one. My wife wanted me to change to her doctor near Cornwall, but not in Cornwall, but I don’t like how he does some things so that’s not going to happen. From time to time new doctors in Cornwall accept new patients. But I check any doctor out that I may be going to. And after checking out most of them there is usually something that I don’t like about them so I’ll stay with my doctor in Ottawa for now. Besides I don’t feel like training a new doctor.

  9. Admin….kind of hard to screen cap something that isn’t there. “Current” comments show 9 comments, “older” comments show 2.

  10. @RocketRoy…You’re so anti-racist, that it’s actually racist as hell.
    A) My wife is brown and she works at a big business on Brookdale, which I’d prefer not to name. I work with several brown people, some of whom hold much higher positions than I.
    B) If Cornwall was so viciously racist, I’m sure someone would have said something offensive to us by now, being that we are a mixed couple. We’ve experienced and witnessed far more “racism” in Casselman, due to us both being anglophones.
    C) There are definitely Natives working in Cornwall. I work with at least 4. My highschool math teacher was Native. And if you don’t see many Natives working, it’s likely because they don’t need to. They receive money from the Government, plus alot of them in the Cwall area are into far more lucrative ventures, than the jobs in the area could even hope to provide. Also employers have massive incentive to hire Natives. One of my best friends had a small shred of Native in his bloodline, so the Government actually pays 50% of his (and his sister’s) wages. It’s not hard for him to get a job when the employer finds out they only have to pay half his wage.

  11. I can vouch for the racism in Casselman if you are an anglophphone.

  12. I feel for you Jay! It must have been hell for you and your wife living in Casselman with all those Francophone people. And what could be worse than working alongside with First Nation Canadians? Life is hard indeed.

  13. Author

    I won’t even stop in Casselman.

  14. There are places worse than Casselman in Eastern Ontario for treatment of anglophones. There is one about 20 minutes down the road from Casselman

  15. Someone on CFN told me about a green flag in Casselman that represented the Francophones and I did see it going by one time on the 417. I had to look for it since I went by on that highway more times than I can remember but I did spot it. We know people who live near Casselman and never heard anything bad about the people and they live in a Francophone village as well the one that starts with an “L”. I had the name a while ago and it escaped me – I am getting old for sure. I speak, read, and write in French and never had problems (not many problems just a few with certain ignorant kids in elementary school) but that is everywhere. If Canadians cannot get along with one another then how in the hell are they going to get along with foreigners of a different mind set. There were shootings here in Ottawa (Vanier as well as the west end) yesterday and something about a Somali wedding and instead of gun shots i the air to celebrate someone was shot in the leg twice. Ottawa became gang central getting more like South Central LA. The entire world has gone literally nuts.

  16. Jules, the world went nuts a long time ago. The place you were referring to may be Limoges.

  17. @Jay. Totally glad your experience has been a positive one. Mo notations were based on anecdotal evidence. Glad things are working out on Brookdale, sorry about Pitt. I would speak what I’ve previously written in front of people of colour if you would say what you have written to people of the First Nations.

  18. Hugger it is Limoges. I was stuck on the name. The man that we know is of Italian descent and lived here in Ottawa and like Limoges very much. He said that he has plenty of woods and nature and is not stepping out on someone’s yard like here in the city. We haven’t heard him complain about the French people or anything like that – he is the kind of person who is mighty sociable and works here in Ottawa. I do know that they commute to Ottawa for work as well as school when the children were in high school and for doctors, etc. Yes the world went nuts a long time ago and is a great deal worse today.

  19. Hugger and folks I remember having a mighty hard time to get my daughter in a French school and both my husband and I are completely bilingual – talk about racism. My husband is trilingual instead of bilingual. When my husband’s nephew came to Canada and lived with us for a little while he sweet talked the principal some how who was what we say in French “un pédé and France is full of them but this man was French Canadian. I roared with laughter when we left the school at how the principal shook my husband’s nephew’s hand like a woman getting ready to do the “martinet” type of dance. LOL LOL. ROLF! I remember it so well that I can’t stop laughing – it was a site to be seen. Finally with some sweet talking from my husband’s nephew who lived in Paris France for 5 years then all was accepted in the end.

  20. Try getting service or ordering a meal in Brockville or Gananoque if you don’t speak English.

  21. Now some city councillors have suggested using the old General Hospital. It is now a private facility, no longer in the public domain. As far as I know the old General Hospital is being converted over to medical clinic, medical offices and general offices. It has been in progress for almost a year now. I don’t think the old General Hospital is an option.

  22. The old Cornwall General is a perfect solution for serving refugees… including the owners. Because it’s an opportunity to have the federal government help pay for renovating and upgrading their building.

    Federal government largesse has worked wonders for the NavCentre in Cornwall. The past several years have seen that building’s wings refurbished (one after another) following each visit by the flood water refugees from northern Ontario; the claims that followed, for services and damage, have been hugely profitable.

    The NavCentre will profit from the government’s refugee resettlement program, so why wouldn’t the Cornwall Generals’s new owners.

    The city of Cornwall too, now has the the opportunity to grab government funding to provide services and facilities to our new guests, that can later be translated into permanent and improved services and facilities for all citizens when this is over.

  23. Hugger I agree with you that the old General Hospital should be used as a clinic and not for the Syrian refugees. I wanted to ask you if anything became of the old General since I am not down there these days. There is something that I was thinking about and that is why in the hell would they want to put the refugees in Cornwall because they don’t know English nor French and here in Ottawa and other big cities there are special schools for the adults to learn English or French or both. There is a school down further (a bit) from me that teaches English and French to these people. Children learn very fast if they are normal kids – they are like sponges and soak up everything compared to adults. My daughter went to school with kids in her day who were from other countries and they picked up the language and so did a little Iraqi Christian boy whose uncle is my husband’s barber. Canada is bringing in the poorest of the poor and you should see the conditions that they are living in Lebanon – OMG.

  24. I just came off the meeting of journalists and those in the immigration and the head of the armed forces and there will be a delay in the amount of refugees coming in because it is a humoungous task besides cost a great deal has to do with security and where the people will go. I had to laugh at one journalist who asked how the refugees will be able to live in Vancouver which is one of the most expensive cities in the world. About 5 days ago I sat in the bus with a man from Vancouver and he said the cost is insane. Ottawa is crazy enough as is and Toronto is even more so but Vancouver – HUH! how does a million dollars and more for a small bungalow (shack) in the drug infested east end of Vancouver sound to you? Million dollar shacks in the ghetto so can you imagine what the other sections of the city are like? There is a great deal to do with safety, etc. and so many things that our Canadian government cannot even answer as yet. The cost is going to be a great deal more expensive than what they thought it would be. Our government has no other alternative but to bring in the flood of refugees because the world is under the influence of the United Nations and the Vatican who are pushing this. It may take longer than December 31/15 and into February/16.

  25. The old Cornwall General may be the perfect location for the refugees. However, seniors quarters are being constructed on the top two floors. As well, there are organizations, medical clinics / offices, business offices, etc. already using other parts of the old Cornwall General Hospital.

    The refugees will not be in Cornwall long. I’m hearing they’ll be here for a maximum stay of up to two months each, then they’ll be relocated to their more permanent home(s). I’m hearing the maximum time frame for the (possible) use of NavCentre is six months. I’m presuming some may live in Cornwall.

    I think the governments plan to have them all here by year’s end was a bit ambitious. And apparently today they modified the timeline.

    The first refugees to arrive have been in refugee camps for a while, some since 2011. They are fully vetted. It’s the refugees coming later that have to be fully checked out BEFORE they arrive, not after.

  26. They did admit that Justin’s plan was not well thought out. Poor judgement right out of the gate is not a good start for a man who would not have been prime minister if it hadn’t been for name recognition. Act first think later is not an admirable quality in a leader. Mistakes at this level are not acceptable to an already heavily burdened tax payer.

    !.2 billion dollars would have helped a lot of needy Canadians living in poverty.

  27. Wouldn’t the refugees have support from the Islamic institute that is just down the road from nav? Or maybe they can even house some of the refugees at that huge building.

  28. Author

    David while I’m not opposed to supporting refugees from Syria or elsewhere this artificial spending of $1.2B would probably serve 2 to 3 times as many people if invested in supporting them in Turkey, Jordan, and other countries closer to Syria than in setting up the infrastructure for people here.

    If some of the refugees legitmately wish to come to Canada great, but if we’re spending bucket loads of money just to get people out of harm’s way there are more efficient ways to resolve that crisis that flying them to Cornwall.

  29. Not bad judgement at all David. Just a slight delay in fulfilling an election promise due to changing circumstances. You’ll just have to get over the fact that the electorate gave your beloved Harper-Cons the boot.

  30. Jamie, Syria is a bombed out hell-hole. The slaughter and destruction has been going on for four years, and it isn’t about to end soon. Most of the people who have managed to get out are living in miserable conditions in refuge camps in neighbouring countries right now. And you are saying that Canada shouldn’t be offering refuge to these people?

  31. Author

    Furtz I have in my article and comments repeatedly showed no opposition to allowing Syrian refugees to come to Canada if that’s what they want. I get that they are in a civil war and that refugees are fleeing from all facets.

    The actual crisis is not to bring people to Canada, but to help our fellow man find safety. We also are spending our tax dollars and I know this may sound crazy, but seeing as even Mr. Trudeau’s number is a drop in the bucket (25,000 out of approximately 3M) if we are going to spend $1.3B we should help as many people as possible, and in my opinion that would be helping places like Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon facilitate people in crisis.

    I totally understand that a large amount of the refugees will never want to return to Syria and will want to settle in other parts of the world and I have zero problem with legitimate refugees coming to our country.

    I don’t like the political grand standing or the excessive expense to effect said grand standing.

    Hope that clarifies my position for you.

  32. Some still cannot accept that Justin Trudeau won the election and Stephen Harper was tossed.

  33. Author

    Furtz war is hell. Sadly people elect idiots or worse, can’t depose despots. Syria also is not the only country having a civil war at the moment. Will Mr. Trudeau be going to this excess for each hot spot as it pops up?

    I think his dad had it right in focusing on Canada being a country of peace keepers and brokers of peace. We never grand standed during that period. Our troops did their jobs and did it well and our country was well respected.

  34. Jamie Toad Lihou represents what Cornwall is all about racism, ignorance in so many ways and a very low intellect. We are Christians in our family and we were badly hurt being in Cornwall and we said NEVER AGAIN! When 911 happened the husband of a manager of a few buildings called my husband a “sky jacker” such ignorance that the town reeked of racism and ignorance and you ask why Cornwall never went ahead. Well Jamie you answered so many of those questions yourself and you yourself have experienced your share as well. Never again would we live in Cornwall – that town is finished and yes all young people have to leave that place or else all there is would be to live on welfare and ignorance and racist to the hilt.

  35. {MODERATED} Jules, Jules, Jules. Please stop trying to make posts like the one I just deleted.

  36. We get it, you don’t like Cornwall. Some do, some don’t.

  37. That sort of clarifies your position, Jamie. To put things into perspective a bit. we Canadians just flushed over $3 billion down the toilet hosting the two-week circus called the Pan-Am Games.
    Newton, you are a formidable genius! There’s no way I can match your wit or intellect.

  38. Author

    Furtz I wasn’t a big fan of the Pan Am games either 🙂

  39. Jamie read this what I am going to send you not one word about the Christians in Syria and I have something for you to read. I am really contemplating on jointing Furtz as an atheist if this is what God is doing to Christians, Jews, etc. Please read it.

    Where Are All The Christian Refugees From Syria?

    This is important to read. Syria like all Muslim countries has only 10% Christian. This is only the beginning Jamie.

  40. Jamie, i like your idea of helping the other countries to help the refugees that are already there. That would help much more people and make way more sense.

  41. Jerry I agree with you 100% and many of these “so called refugees” are ISIS terrorists who have stollen passports and why do you think that Justine and his gang halted the idea of bringing in all these people. Women and children are just as bad as the men and many of them are military trained. In the Arab countries children shoot to kill with machine guns, etc. Women as well are fighting on the lines and even Christian woman are fighting along side men. The people of the US (the vast majority of them) do not want these people in their country – Christians yes but not Islam. You people do not know anything about the Islamic religion and if you did then you would be terrified. This has nothing to do with race – I am married to a Christian Lebanese since 41 years so don’t tell me about race – it is about religion and their terror.

  42. Jamie I have something for you to read and I don’t know if you ever heard of a journalist from England who lives in Beirut Lebanon because he is a Middle East correspondent. This man is mighty famous and has articles of ISIS and this would be great for your readers to listen to and was being interviewed by the man Steve from TVO (Ontario) and for quite a while I was trying to think of his name and came up with it just this morning. This man knows the Middle East very well and speaks Arabic as well. Here is one article for you to read and more on the right side for you to look at and here it goes:

    How Isis Frightens The World

    This man works for the Independent Newspaper and often has articles in the papers that my husband reads from back home and is world renowned. This man is from England and very well educated. Listen to the man and you will know what I mean if you haven’t heard about him before he knows what is going on and your readers will get to know some things as well.

  43. The name of the journalist is Robert Fisk. Don’t mind me I am hyper wanting to get this out to you.

  44. Furtz what circumstances changed overnight? This has nothing to do with a prior government Furtz it has everything to do with lack of vision and proper planning. Mentioning poor leadership is a fact. Proper leadership would not have placed the interests and security of migrants ahead of existing Canadians. The health of migrants and the governments stand on infectious diseases and other major health risks is yet another story in this saga. This has nothing to do with political stripes it has everything to do with common sense and well grounded reasoning.

  45. More time required for processing and screening mostly due to security concerns since the events in Paris and Mali. You really should try to follow the news a little bit, David.

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