The Canadian family of a drowned Syrian toddler and his family mourned their loss Thursday as the world demanded answers about Canada’ rejection of their immigration request.
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander dropped campaign plans to rush to Ottawa and “ascertain both the facts of the case of the Kurdi family and to receive an update on the migrant crisis,” he said in an emailed statement.
“The tragic photo of young Aylan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world. Like all Canadians, I was deeply saddened by that image and of the many other images of the plight of the Syrian and Iraqi migrants fleeing persecution at the hands of ISIS.” […]
Canadian legislator Fin Donnelly told The Canadian Press that he had submitted a request on behalf of Tima Kurdi, who had wanted to bring the family to Canada, but her request was turned down by Canadian immigration officials.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair became particularly emotional Thursday when he noted how Galip could have also been saved.
“The older child could have been going to school next week in Canada,” Mulcair said. “This is hard for everyone.”
“The international community has failed,” Mulcair said. “Canada has failed.”
Donnelly, the NDP candidate for re-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam, said he hand-delivered a letter to Alexander in March but that the sponsorship request was not approved.
Kurdi is a “good upstanding citizen” who has lived in Canada for 20 years, Donnelly said.
“He promised that he would look into it for me,” Donnelly told CBC-TV. “I thought that he would actually do it.”
Donnelly said Kurdi received the “horrific news” Wednesday and saw photographs taken at the beach where the bodies washed ashore — a photo of one of the children was shown on newscasts and in social media.
“This tragic loss is just heart-wrenching to go through,” Donnelly said.
“She was just completely upset and heartbroken.” […]
More than 300,000 refugees and migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year, the UN refugee agency estimates. About 2,500 of them have gone missing or died while attempting the perilous crossing.
The heartbreaking images of Aylan, splashed across newspaper front pages, have increased the pressure on European leaders to take action to ease the suffering of those involved in a wave of migration not seen since World War II.
The Canadian Council for Refugees reiterated its call for Canada “to open its doors to Syrian refugees,” on Thursday morning.
Loly Rico, CCR president, referred to the deaths of Aylan and Galip in a prepared statement.
“These small boys could be alive today, if Canada had responded more appropriately to the Syrian refugee crisis,” Rico said in a prepared statement.
“We shouldn’t need to wait for a tragedy like this to realize we must open our doors,” Rico said. “We call on an urgent basis for Syrians with family in Canada to be allowed to travel here immediately and complete processing in Canada where they can be safe. We don’t want to see any more children die in this way.”