Emergency Debate – The Situation in Syria

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I can attest that, personally working for Syrian members of my community, I have been so relieved to have two husbands come to their wives in Canada and to see an increase in staffing in Amman, Jordan. I am personally aware of that, but I definitely agree with the minister in his speech that we are not doing enough yet.

I am hearing reports from Syrians who are trying to get an appointment with the embassy in Lebanon, but the local staff, the guards around our embassy, treat them disrespectfully and do not let them get to the door. It is a conflict situation, and the other misconception is that the refugee camps are run by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. They are not; they are run by the host countries. Once people are there as refugees, they are still afraid. Some of them are so afraid that they are not prepared to go to the Red Crescent or the Red Cross to report in, so that they can be recorded.

It is a difficult situation. I am not saying it is easy, but we are not doing enough to reunite some of the people who still could be brought home to their families in Canada.

Costas Menegakis : Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for her question and her concern. It is always good to look internally and believe that we can be doing more. This is something on which we are very, very focused. It is a priority for us. We know we are dealing with real people here in very difficult situations. I can appreciate and attest to some of the comments that the hon. member made, but it is something that is, as I stated previously, of primary concern to our government and we are focusing on it on a full-time basis.