Feds switch Syrian family bound for Olds

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As the federal government scrambles to settle the flood of Syrian refugees into Canada, a Didsbury and Carstairs sponsorship group has agreed to change the family it welcomes to Mountain View County.

The group, organized by the Bergthal Mennonite Church had accepted a family — a 44-year-old concrete worker, his wife and eight children. However, they agreed Jan. 18 instead to receive a 39-year-old truck driver, his 40-year-old wife and their seven children aged 11 down to an infant.

The mother and 11-year-old daughter have renal function impairment disorder and will need primary medical care when they arrive.

John McCallum, the minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship said Jan. 20 that agencies in Toronto, Halifax, Ottawa and Vancouver can’t handle any more refugees for several days while they absorb the majority of the 11,613 Syrian refugees admitted to the country as of Jan. 18.

McCallam said that the agencies in the four cities have asked for a pause of about a week and after that a slowdown in the number of refugees they receive.

Two provinces, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, have asked for more families and the government is also turning to smaller communities across the country to help provide a solution.

Officials with the program said Jan. 12 that the challenge in the cities is to find housing and groups such as the Didsbury and Carstairs volunteers who have arranged rental housing in Olds for the family.

The pause in city resettlement has rippled through the entire program and those responsible for resettlement have adjusted arrangements, said the spokesperson.

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About Author

Frank Dabbs is a veteran political and business journalist, author of four books and editor of several more. He is a longtime Mountain View Publishing columnist.