Our story by Laura Lynch about this two-tier system created when the Liberal government waived loans for Syrian refugees arriving after Nov. 4 generated a lot of conversation in C.B.C. Forum.
LIVE CHAT RECAP: Should Canada end the refugee loan program?
Liberals’ waiving of travel costs for Syrian refugees created 2-tier system
Below are some of the best comments that came out of our live chat.
(Note that usernames are not necessarily the commenters’ names. Some comments have been edited for length, to correct spelling and to conform to C.B.C. style.)
“When my family immigrated to Canada 20 years ago as refugees, we had to repay the cost of plane tickets. I believe that is a small price to pay for opportunity to be live free of oppression, prejudice and to be able to start your life anew. Government should continue the loan program without a doubt.” — Sash
“This was definitely a bungle on the new government’s part. While their intent was noble, it’s a disaster in practice. The rules have to be the same for everyone, or they don’t work at all. Unless Justin intends to refund every refugee who came here since 1951, he might want to do a quick flip-flop.” — Vegan Carnivore
“While I am pleased that the government is not slapping a huge travel debt onto new Syrian refugees, I really believe that all refugees should be granted the same relief. I work with refugees and believe that the money they are expected to pay back can be better used for their own families and their own settlement into Canada. I know they can pay if off over years but, honestly, it is a disgrace that Canada even charges it.” — Val
Hagop Bozyakalian and his daughter Aline play in their new home. (Marie Morrissey/CBC)
“While I understand the reasoning, I do not think the government should have to cancel all the immigration loan debt prior to their taking office. This is going to cause tremendous trouble. How far will they have to go back? And what about people who have already made payments to the loan?” — Mirna Khalifeh
”Asking the refugees to repay the travel loans I think is a sound idea in general, but you have to give them enough time to integrate and get a stable job of a sort before you slap them with repayments.” — Asparukh Akanayev
“Welcome to a Democracy. As governments change so do policies and the responsibilities of common citizens. Just because I bought a house before the first time home buyers tax credit doesn’t mean I should get a refund. This is part of life in our world.” — Tyson
“Refugees should not be made to repay transportation costs. This makes them vulnerable to exploitation, as many will not not have the money to repay that debt. I think it makes sense to retroactively forgive transportation costs, which were wrong to begin with. Let’s recover our reputation as a welcoming, refugee-friendly country!” — JS
“Write off the debt of transportation loans; it is no right than asking a drowning person to pay the cost of a lifesaver.” — spyker
“They are refugees. Unless they have relatives here, where are they supposed to come up with the money? This is financial servitude and its disgusting.” — Tim
“The host country should be prepared to support the refugees financially up to a certain point at which it would make sense for the refugees to begin paying back to the country that has supported them in arriving in Canada. If we eliminate the loans, we would be unable to bring as many people into the country and therefore helping less people.” — ToriB