Big Rock Campbell River

Dear Mr. Trudeau, Pt. 9

42.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Churches in Canada get lots of tax breaks because they provide social services that the government is unable to provide – counselling, spiritual care, hot meals, shelters, community. This is fair, but they really do get quite a lot tax breaks. It seems only fair to call on any registered church to sponsor a refugee family. You don’t have to make it a law – just ask nicely, I’m sure a lot of them will do it.

Thank you,

Shannon

43.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I know you’re a good man and would save every refugee, and every hurting, sick, lost or starving person in the world, if you could. I know also that you can’t save all of them, and that sometimes when you try to save even a few there’s horrible political backlash. Which sucks. I’m doing my best to help with that by telling all my friends (a hundred times!) that we need to be compassionate.

Hope it works.

Thanks,

Shannon

44.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I’ve asked three people that I respect whether it’s a good idea to admit more refugees. They are Dan Bouwers, who was the head counsellor or the summer camp I worked at as a teenager, Brian Down, who was my social studies teacher in high school, and Jackie Kanyuck, who is a trans lady who plays bike polo and has helped organize Vancouver’s bike polo community.

They all think that it’s a pretty good idea to let refugees in. I can get you their email addresses if you’d like to double check with them.

Cheers,

Shannon

45.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

There are other people in the world who are suffering and need help, but the spirit has moved me to focus on Syrian refugees today. If I concentrate enough, maybe I can make a tiny difference in the world. Please open the doors for more people to come here.

Love,

Shannon

46.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Another place in Canada that’s kind of awful is Campbell River. That’s the town where I grew up. When I say awful, I mean that the economy was dying when I left, it was turning into a retirement town with no industry and no opportunities for young people like me.

However, it is green and lush, and you can stand beside the main highway and look out across the Strait of Georgia at the islands and the mountains. Sometimes there are orca whales, and I’ve never seen a more beautiful place on Earth (and I’ve been to Paris).

Maybe the place wouldn’t be so awful if there were more young people there. Campbell River is another town that has room for refugees.

Sincerely,

Shannon

47.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

In 1914, the SS Komagata Maru sailed from Hong Kong to Vancouver carrying Indian immigrants trying to escape unbearable living conditions. The Canadian government passed a law, the Asian Exclusion law, specifically designed to keep these people out. The law stated that any ship docking in Canada would have to make a continuous journey from its origin to Canada, with no stops or detours along the way.

This is a pretty difficult thing to do for a ship sailing from Hong Kong, and they were not able to do it. When the ship arrived in Vancouver, they were not allowed to land. They say in harbour in Vancouver for two months, denied food and water, before they were forced to leave. Upon their return to India, a British gunboat attacked the ship, full of civilians, and killed 19 men who were supposedly the leaders of the group.

This behaviour is disgraceful and puts our country to shame. We need to take every possible opportunity to redeem ourselves. The Syrian refugee crisis is one such opportunity, and I hope we’ll take advantage of it.

Cheers,

Shannon

48.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Have you ever heard the full quote?

“No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man’s death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

John Donne, No Man Is An Island.

As long as there are people in the world who need help, we need to help them. It diminishes us if we don’t. Let’s help some refugees.

Cheers,

Shannon

49.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

In the Bible, it says that in a place pretty near to the current war zone in Syria, a traveller was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. As he lay dehydrating and burning in the desert, a couple of wealthy people who probably could have helped went past, and pretended not to notice him. History has forgotten those people, they were nothing. Whatever they went on to do that day is of no importance and was probably a waste of their time.

A third person came along, and was a Samaritan. He stopped and helped the traveller, and in doing so, forever associated the name “Samaritan” with good works and heroic behaviour. Before that day, Samaritans were kind of looked down on, much the same way we look down on immigrant labourers in modern times. Now you can’t say “Samaritan” without putting “good” in front of it. Well done him. Let’s follow that fine example and help our neighbours from Syria, in their time of need.

Love,

Shannon

50.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

I was raised on Disney movies and Mr Rogers. You probably were too, you’re not that much older than I am.

Mr Roger would have welcomed Syrian refugees. I can’t think of any higher goal to aspire to, than to be like Mr Rogers.

Sincerely,

Shannon

51.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Looking for more ways to say that we need to look after our neighbours, I found this:

“If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I.” -Michel de Montaigne

That quote might have something to do with his lover, I don’t know, but it’s a pretty good reason for loving anyone.

Thanks,

Shannon

52.

Dear Mr Trudeau,

Not every day is a good one. I’m inside watching a ridiculous amount of rain fall, and feeling pretty sad. Whatever my problems are, though, they’d be a lot worse if I was outside in it. There are refugees outside in the rain somewhere, though. Let’s let them in.

Thanks,

Shannon

Published by

Shannon Graham

Shannon has been writing brief essays and occasional how-to articles at Rocketships, Unaffiliated (.ca) whenever inspiration strikes, since 2012. She is interested in your opinion.

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