Unrest grows in the wake of Paris attacks

Last Friday the news of a major terrorist attack in Paris shook the world yet again. These kinds of reports are unfortunately becoming all too common these days as violence seems to more prevalent and what some are turning to for the answer.

ISIS ultimately took responsibility for the seven coordinated attacks in the French capital which saw gunmen and suicide bombers target a concert hall, a major stadium, bars and restaurants – all simultaneously. The attacks saw 129 people dead and 352 people injured.

France has now declared war on the Islamic State in Syria and is aggressively attacking that area. Russia has also joined the fight in retaliation for the downed Russian charter jet on Oct. 31st which killed 224 people.

As well, we learned last week that tragedy also struck Beirut, Lebanon. On Thursday 43 people were killed and 239 people were injured after suicide bombing was reportedly carried out by an ISIS cell.

These attacks seem to be escalating and creating much unrest and fear in the world.

Before 9/11, citizens in the western world rarely, if ever, heard of this type of extreme attack or violence. That has been slowing changing and many now live in fear.

Also stemming from these attacks is the question surrounding the Syrian refugees set to come to Canada by the end of the year. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during his campaign to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.

Social media is abuzz with calls to either halt or significantly slow the process of allowing the refugees into Canada.

Trudeau has said the commitment has, “In no way weakened our resolve to ensure first and foremost that Canadians are kept safe.”

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall released a letter to Trudeau asking him to halt the plan over safety concerns. “I understand that the overwhelming majority of refugees are fleeing violence and bloodshed and pose no threat to anyone. However, if even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating.”

Here in Red Deer, we have also heard concern and support from citizens regarding the issue. It is a hot topic on social media where some believe our community should not welcome any refugees at this time. Among their concerns are the speed in which the process is happening, the fact that our province’s economy is in a recession and jobs are scarce and the lack of affordable housing options in the City. Of course, there are many in support of welcoming refugees into our community as well.

MP Earl Dreeshen posted a message on his social media in response to community concern.

He said in part, “It is clear that the process currently being carried out is being driven by a desire to fulfill a political promise. We need to pay attention to the seriousness of the situation and not overburden our organizations tasked with settlement by insisting on unrealistic deadlines and targets chosen arbitrarily. Insufficient screening is not in the best interest of Canadians and certainly not in the best interest of the legitimate refugees we are settling.”

For the refugees settling into our community, life will not be easy by any means. Unfortunately some are painting all of them with the same brush. We hope that our community can be welcoming and approach the issue in a balanced and fair manner. It is a very complicated situation and we hope that those refugees who are looking to make Red Deer their home can feel a part of the community.