1st Session, 41st Parliament,

Volume 148, Issue 167

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Foreign Affairs

Syria

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: My question also is to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, and leader, this is on another topic. I had asked you questions on Syria some time ago, and there is not one senator in this place who is not aware of the terrible situation that exists in Syria. I have tracked down figures regarding the help that Canada has been giving as of this morning, so I have a number of questions for you, leader. One is, how will Canada help to make up the Syria Humanitarian Assistance Response Plan’s $190 million deficit?

Hon. Marjory LeBreton (Leader of the Government): Thank you, Senator Jaffer. Canada is continuing to address the humanitarian crisis in Syria, as you know. We have provided more than $48 million in support to help Syrian refugees in the neighbouring countries such as Turkey and Jordan, and of course we all watch on a daily basis the horrific situation in Syria. If there is further information that you require on this, Senator Jaffer, I would be happy to try and get it for you.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much, leader. My next question is what additional funds will the government provide for the terrible situation with regard to water, sanitation, hygiene, sector plan, which is only 9.3 per cent funded as of today?

Senator LeBreton: Well, as you know, Minister Kenney visited the Syrian refugee camps in Turkey and made an announcement that our government is contributing another $1.5 million to the Red Cross to help those in need, and this funding will help provide food, water and shelter and items such as hygiene kits, blankets, heaters and clothing for up to 170,000 displaced Syrians.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you, leader. I am aware of what Minister Kenney had said. My question to you is, what additional funds is Canada looking to provide for this terrible situation where 3.1 million children are displaced?

Senator LeBreton: The government, of course, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, are working and attempting to respond to the obvious needs, and of course, as you know, this situation worsens by the day. I will take your question as notice, Senator Jaffer, and get up-to-date information as to what is being done to this point in time.

Senator Jaffer: Thank you very much, leader. Leader, today, as I stand here, I remember 40 years ago when I was in the same circumstances under Idi Amin’s terrible regime, where Canada came to help, uplift, bring Ugandan Asians to Canada. Are there any programs to help these desperate Syrians to come to Canada?

Senator LeBreton: I will take that question as notice, Senator Jaffer. I am not aware of what exactly — we do have a very good refugee program and to the extent of how it applies to these unfortunate refugees from Syria, I will be happy to provide an answer.

 

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