Letters to the Editor

From The Catalyst Summer 2014

Refugee Sponsorship

I appreciated your articles on refugees as well as poverty.

Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provides funds to their own sponsored refugees according to the local Social Services model. In Alberta, the model is based on a formula, rather than individual needs.

Since housing has become so expensive, those who are unemployed (but employable) and in need of help are given very little to live on, requiring them to find shared accommodation (sometimes with parents) or a shack or RV in a rural setting.

The bigger cities provide free meals seven days-a-week, so it seems that Social Services in Alberta depends on these services when determining the amounts to give. However, housing allowances are sometimes provided on an appeal basis.

Due to the above, I have met government sponsored refugees with insufficient funds to pay rent, utilities, transportation, food, and other living costs to enable them to learn English and obtain jobs in a timely fashion.

Sadly, CIC seems very reluctant to discuss any of these serious problems.

August Guillaume
Edmonton, Alberta

Divestment & Creation Care

Your cover article on creation and our role rang some familiar bells. We were initially created out of the earth and ended up as co-creators. Quite a climb and a success story! But could we say that instead of us caring for the earth, Mother Earth has been caring for us all along as, perhaps, the weakest species?

In a First Nations story of creation, the creator called together the animals and plants that he had created and asked them to look after this new creation he was about to bring out, since the humans would be new and helpless to live in nature (no fur, no skills etc.).

I also appreciated the article on the theme of disinvestment in your Spring 2014 issue. Nicole Armstrong’s article on profiting from the wreckage is a very clear summary of the divestment issue. We at Trinity Saint Paul’s Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts have been working on climate change for some years and voted to disinvest, as the article informs your readers. We are happy to be in touch with others as a strong movement is being born. (gofossifree.com)

Nicole perhaps did not know about Toronto350.org. In a real sense, 350.org is the global link for this campaign; there are other branches in universities across Canada. The University of Toronto students have petitioned the Senate of the University to disinvest all their investments from fossil fuels companies.

A Canadian network of people working on this needs to form and is, in fact, forming. There are many people involved who feel the extreme urgency. I trust you will continue to be part of it so more can benefit from your future articles and your well informed staff.

Jim Kirkwood
Member, Climate Justice Working Group,
Trinity Saint Paul’s United Church, Toronto

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