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Canada is a multicultural nation and has often welcomed others with open arms. While there have been cases of refugees being turned away, in dark periods of our history, Canada has welcomed many refugees.
Currently, refugees are streaming into Canada from the United States and it has ignited the debate of refugees in Canada.
Nearly everyone coming into Canada is coming in because they want to be here, and they want a better life for themselves and their families. They want to make a difference in their new home, and that is why Canada is a multicultural nation. We are stronger because of our differences in culture.
Many refugees that have come to Canada with their families have gone on to make a major impact in the country.
Here are just a few:
While she grew up in Ottawa, she was born in Hong Kong and fled there with her refugee parents at the age of two, in 1941.
In Canada, she would earn several degrees and would begin a distinguished career in the 1960s with the CBC.
In 1999, she was appointed as Governor General of Canada. During her time as Governor General, she was deeply committed to the Canadian Armed Forces, earning her a great deal of respect. As well, she created the Clarkson Cup for women’s hockey, and also created the Institute of Canadian Citizenship with her husband John Saul.
Born in Haiti and fleeing with her family in 1968 after the torture of their father a year previous, she would arrive in Canada and settle in Quebec. Eventually, she moved with her mother and sister to Montreal where she excelled in her studies and learned several languages. She also began working to help new immigrants settle in Canada.
In 1988, she began working for Radio-Canada and became the first person of Caribbean heritage on French television news in Canadian history.
In 2005, she succeeded Clarkson as Governor General of Canada. She would serve in the position for five years before stepping down to help young people in the country with her husband Jean-Daniel.
Peter C. Newman
Born in Austria in 1929, Newman lived a privileged childhood in Czechoslovakia before having to flee from the Nazis and escape Europe when he was only 11 years old.
In 1944, he enrolled at Upper Canada College and would join the Royal Canadian Navy in 1947. Serving in the naval reserve for 50 years, he would reach the rank of Captain. He would eventually find his way to the Toronto Star where he became editor-in-chief. He would also guide Maclean’s magazine and write 33 books on a wide variety of topics.
Born in Iran in 1984, her parents had fled to the country during the Soviet-Afghan War. She lived in Iran for several periods of time, and in Afghanistan from 1987 to 1988 and from 1993 to 1996. It was during that time her father was killed along the Iran-Afghanistan border in 1988. The family struggled to survive in Iran with a very small income. Eventually, her mother came to Canada with the family as a refugee on a trip that took her through Iran, Pakistan and Jordan.
Upon arriving, the family survived through support from the YMCA and the Salvation Army. Living in Peterborough where her uncle lived, she would enroll in Trent University in 2003 and graduate in 2010.
She began to work with Afghan refugees in 2014 in Iran before running for mayor of Peterborough that same year and finishing in a close second.
In 2015, she was elected as a Member of Parliament and was appointed as a Minister of Democratic Institutions by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Currently, she is the Minister of Status of Women.