The Ross Firm appears before town council in support of Syrian Refugee Initiative

Quinn Ross received a deputation to appear before Goderich town council on Monday September 21, 2015. Council referred the matter to staff for review and undertook to consider the matter further as it progressed. Click here for a post presentation interview. Below are his prepared remarks:

"On September 3rd I was confronted with the image of Aylan, a 3 year old boy who drowned alongside his mother and brother in an attempt to flee the grips of a brutal and escalating civil war in Syria.

To say that I was troubled by this photo is an understatement. As a father I asked myself, what would prompt risking my child's life to brave unknown seas in what amounts to an inner-tube? The only answer I could come up with, is a risk to their well-being even more certain than the perilous trip across uncharted waters.

I had to learn more. I was prompted to action.

Here's what I learned.

According to Unicef almost 8 million Syrian's have fled their homes. Approximately 4 million have fled the country altogether.

During the conflagration approximately 130,000 civilians have been killed.

Without attempting to ascribe blame, the European Union appears to be flailing in their response to the crush of humanity flooding central and Eastern Europe. Some states have gone so far as to close borders and install razor-wire.

That is what I learned. Those appear to be the facts. I then had to decide what to do with them.

It was that moment that gave rise to the initiative I am here to discuss.

Along with the other lawyers and staff at the Ross Firm, we decided to do something. We decided in the face of the greatest humanitarian crisis in a generation, we had an obligation. We were obliged as humans, as defenders of the rule of law and as citizens of this great country, county and town.

So we went to social media. We talked to friends and colleagues, neighbours and friends.

We let them know that we would do all we could to facilitate bringing a Syrian family or families to our community. That we would do what we do best. We would help people navigate the legal and regulatory systems. In this case the refugee sponsorship immigration system. We would do all we could and where we were out of our element, we would ensure partnerships were in place to pick up where we left off. We undertook to do it all at no cost.

The response was immediate. Within a day there were over 10,000 views of our post. We had hundreds of contacts and offers of help.

We have people and community groups formally dedicated to providing ELS, housing, health care, food, clothing, transportation and fundraising support. We have individuals and families offering to stand as sponsors and commit themselves to this noble endeavour.

So we have institutional support, we have community support and we are on our way with respect to identifying the sponsoring body. So what could I possibly be coming before council, hat in hand, seeking?

Two things.

1. Outline CG and Group of 5 - 1 year to 36 month obligation.

a. Matching Grant.

2. Administrative Support. A dedicated staff member who can assist the sponsoring group in minimizing red tape. They will be informed of the sponsorship plan and progress and upon arrival of the family, they will assist the family and sponsoring group as they undertake the steps to integrate into the community. Where possible they will be a single point of contact so that the family and sponsoring group can focus on the challenges of moving to a new culture, a new language, a new world. If council is willing to consider this option, a staffing grant application can be completed in the normal course.

Finally, and I know I said only two things... But what is most important is support. Vocal Support for the initiative, support for the responsibility, support for those who desperately seek what we are so blessed to enjoy; a free and democratic society where one is only limited by how hard they work and how they treat their fellow citizens."

Published on September 22, 2015 by Content Manager.