Friday December 11, 2015
By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday December 11, 2015
Syrian refugees now in Toronto look forward to ‘beautiful future’
Georgina Zires and Kevork Jamkossian looked both happy and haggard while toting their 16-month old daughter as they arrived in Toronto after spending almost a day in transit with more than 160 other refugees who have fled civil war in Syria to start a new life in Canada.
Waiting to greet them at Pearson airport Thursday night was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, who helped the family pick coats from piles of donated clothing.
“Now, we feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise,” Jamkossian told Trudeau through an interpreter. “That’s how we feel.”
The couple was joined by more than 160 other Syrian refugees who arrived in Toronto in the first government aircraft carrying refugees, as the Canadian government works to fulfil a pledge to bring in 25,000 refugees by the end of February.
In Syria, Zires worked as a clerk in a women’s clothing shop and Jamkossian worked as a blacksmith.
A better life for their daughter Madeleine was the main motivation for coming to Canada.
“She is the reason for us to come here because here she can do many things,” Zires said, also through an interpreter. “In other countries, she can do nothing.”
After landing in Toronto, the new arrivals were given warm coats, social insurance numbers and health cards after a security and health screening at a special airport terminal renovated for their arrival. After processing, they were bused to an airport hotel to rest.
“They step off the plane as refugees, but they walk out of this terminal as permanent residents of Canada with social insurance numbers, with health cards and with an opportunity to become full Canadians,” Trudeau he said.
Shadi Mardelli, who spoke to reporters at the airport shortly after he was processed, said he’s looking forward to a “beautiful future” in Canada. (Source: CBC News)