Sep 03, 2015

By Jane Brown

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The heartbreaking picture on the fronts of the newspapers this morning is affecting our federal election campaign.

Three Syrian family members who died on a Turkish beach, including the 3 year old boy shown lifeless in the photo, had once reportedly been turned down entry to Canada by the governing Conservatives.

Vancouver area NDP MP Fin Donnelly says he was personally involved, and presented the immigration ministry with sponsorship papers back in March.

“We were initially hopeful in terms of the response.  We got a response from the office saying they wanted further details about the family.  We provided that.  And then the weeks of waiting and frustration began, until the image which has now gone around the world with the little boy lying on the beach, which the world has seen,” Donnelly told CTV News.

There is reaction now. Immigration minister Chris Alexander has temporarily suspended his re-election campaign in Ajax and says he’s meeting with officials to discuss this case. Alexander says he also intends to receive an update on the migrant crisis in Europe.

Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is in Brossard, Quebec where he’s criticized the Harper government for not doing enough for Syrian refugees.

Here in Toronto this morning, NDP leader Tom Mulcair commented on how the front page newpaper picture is portraying the full story so well.

“How desperate do you have to be, to take that risk with your kids, that desperation of the parents is what we should be asking ourselves about.  Turkey’s been doing an amazing job.  Turkey has taken in so many refugees and I’ve met the Turkish ambassador a number of times, and he’s always said, look at the numbers, we’ve got well over a million already.  Canada has to do more, you have to help us more, and we do have to do more, we have to do a lot more,” Mulcair detailed.

Mulcair says the United Nations has asked Canada to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees. He says let’s start with that and go from there.

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