I know all of us have been deeply moved by the images we've seen in recent days of young children who tragically died while fleeing war in Syria. And we can only imagine how many other horrors have happened, and continue to happen, away from the lens of a camera.
Given the massive scale of the Syrian refugee crisis, I am calling on the Government of Saskatchewan to partner with local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), mosques, churches and community groups to help settle as many Syrian refugee families as possible.
Over the years, the Government of Saskatchewan has provided humanitarian assistance in many cases, including the conflict in Ukraine, the earthquake in Nepal, the typhoon in the Philippines, the tsunami in Japan and the earthquake in Haiti. Now, it is Syrian refugees that urgently need help.
Saskatchewan people are incredibly compassionate and generous. I know that many would love to help Syrian refugees. I'd like the provincial government to help facilitate this, by working with settlement organizations to recruit refugee sponsors; setting up an emergency matching-grant program to assist those who want to sponsor Syrian refugees; and pressuring the federal government to accept more refugees, cut red tape and hasten the settlement process.
My office has begun reaching out to local settlement organizations to discuss what is feasible here and what other steps the provincial government should take so we, as a province, can do our part to help those who so desperately need it.