By Graeme MacKay, Editorial Cartoonist, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday November 12, 2015
Refugees as a long-term investment in the country
Immigration Minister John McCallum and the new Liberal government have drawn global attention and praise with a frantic Beat the Clock pledge to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year.
The deadline is probably unnecessarily tight and, to do it right, Canadians would probably give the new Trudeau government the breathing room needed to push the Jan. 1 deadline. But the government has the support of the UN Refugee Agency, provinces, cities, the military, airlines, labour organizations, churches and Canadians.
It evokes memories of the last time this country opened its arms in such a compassionate embrace and one Toronto man knows better than any the work involved in pulling off such a herculean task.
Scott Mullin was 22 and barely out of Carleton University when the Star headlined a March 5, 1979, piece about him — “Viet refugees view Canadian as a god.’’
A few months later, the CBC called him “The One-Man Board of Immigration,’’ in a July 1979 piece from reporter Peter Mansbridge.
Mullin, now the vice-president of community relations for the TD Bank, determined which of the so-called Vietnamese “boat people” came to Canada and which were denied passage, relying largely on gut impressions which resulted in far more “yays” than “nays.”
“We have to look upon this for ourselves as an investment in the future,’’ the young Mullin told Mansbridge 36 years ago. “The first six months we might have a lot of problems, but what’s this guy’s son going to be like and how’s he going to do? I think that’s the important thing you have to look at.’’ (Source: Toronto Star)