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Nahanni Fontaine, MLA St. Johns
March 9, 2017

Organizations that Support Refugees

It's clear today's increasing global refugee crisis is a definitive issue of our time, with millions of desperate peoples forced to flee their countries owing to persecution, war and violence. Indeed, in recent months, we've witnessed this global crisis at our very own doors, with over 200 asylum seekers crossing into Emerson in dangerously cold conditions since the beginning of this year.

Over the past couple of days, 19 people, including a pregnant woman and a child, risked their lives to make a refugee claim here in Manitoba. It has never been clearer to me Manitoba is a province of people who value diversity, acceptance and tolerance, witnessing the many Manitobans, including those in Emerson, who have opened their doors and with shows of generosity and love.

As well, our province is home to several incredible organizations who unfailingly work at providing settlement services and other desperately needed supports for refugees: organizations like Welcome Place, the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, No One Is Illegal–Winnipeg, Canadian Muslim Women's Institute, the Islamic Social Services Association and many, many others.

These organizations have been providing critical settlement and advocacy services for years, recognizing that refugees make up a critical component of Manitoba's newcomer population and that they are an integral part of our socio-economic fabric. These organizations meet the needs of refugees by providing accommodations, health, legal, advocacy, awareness-building and educational services.

We know NGOs work with limited resources, but, despite this, they go above and beyond the call of duty. It is clear that they will need additional supports with what could be over 1,000 newcomers in this coming year.

Please join me in thanking Hani Al-U Batey, Abdi Ahmed, Krishna Lalbiharie with Immigration Partnership Winnipeg; Laurel Martin from the Canadian Muslim Women's Institute; with Emita, Adams, Aziz and Ahmed, who, if I may, Madam Speaker, are actually some of the first refugees who crossed over from Ghana in Emerson; and Shahina Siddiqui from the Islamic Social Services Association for their dedication in helping refugees and newcomers and enshrining Manitoba as a welcoming province.