Sunday, January 3, 2016

Stop sharing the refugees vs. seniors internet myths!

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Have you seen this Facebook post circulating around?

Sadly and depressingly it has been shared more than 44,000 times as of this posting.

Old myths along these lines have been around for a long time and have been repeatedly disproved and shown to be false or totally misleading.

As always the claim is made that refugees are somehow receiving special treatment not afforded to "Canadians". Usually, as in this case, it is claimed or implied that they receive more assistance than Canada's seniors.

This particularly odious example claims that the Vancouver Sun had an article showing that refugees would get thousands of dollars a month for food alone.

What the article actually says related to this is:

In Vancouver, due to a shortage of suitable accommodations, ISS of B.C. is suggesting the Jericho military barracks could be used as a temporary measure to house refugees before moving them to permanent housing.
As it stands now, government-assisted refugees will spend their initial two to three weeks in a reception centre in Metro Vancouver, Friesen said. This could be Welcome House in downtown Vancouver or a local hotel.
“We’re being picky. We want hotels that have kitchenettes so people can cook themselves. We want to have hotels, ideally, with more than 40 rooms because we want to centralize it as much as we can with a limited number of sites. We’re looking at hotels in Vancouver, Richmond and Surrey currently,” he explained.
Between now and March, Ottawa needs 300 rooms daily in each of the two cities to house about 600 refugees per night, according to a notice posted Friday on a government procurement website. Suppliers will also be expected to provide meals.
The length of stays will vary: some will leave the next morning, others will need “two or more nights.”
Hotels will be expected to provide up to three meals a day. It states the government will reimburse up to $15 per person for breakfast, $16 for lunch and $30 for dinner.
In other words this allowance will not be for all refugees, only those who have to be put up in hotels with no kitchenettes and it will be entirely temporary! It will also not be going to the refugees but to the hotel. In some cases, as is plainly and clearly stated, it will be for only one night.

It will not be for months or, as is the case with senior's government pensions and benefits, for the rest of their lives!

These types of nasty falsehoods and distortion of facts have been around for so long and have been circulated by so many ignorant people that the government of Canada itself has had to post a notice related to it that states:

Do government-assisted refugees get more income support and benefits than Canadian pensioners do?
No. Refugees do not get more financial help from the federal government than Canadian pensioners do. A widely circulated email makes this false claim. The email mistakenly includes the one-time start-up payment as part of the monthly payment. The amount of monthly financial support that government-assisted refugees get is based on provincial social assistance rates. It is the minimum amount needed to cover only the most basic food and shelter needs.
Many refugees selected for resettlement to Canada have been forced to flee their country because of extreme hardship. Some may have been living in refugee camps for many years. When they arrive in Canada, they must start their lives again in a country very different from their own.
In keeping with Canada’s proud humanitarian traditions, individuals and families get immediate and essential services and support to help them become established in Canada.
In an article entitled "A mistake that travelled around the world and back again"  The Toronto Star also dispelled complete fictions along these lines stating:

Comparing amounts each might receive is like comparing apples oranges and bananas too, given the various means of government assistance for refugees and seniors, but here are the basic facts. First, privately sponsored refugees are not eligible for government assistance — support is the sponsors’ responsibility.
When they arrive in Canada, government-assisted refugees are eligible for monthly support aligned with provincial social assistance rates – in Ontario, less than $800 monthly. They are also eligible for a one-time — not monthly — payment to help set up their households. That’s estimated to be about $2,500 for a family of four and $950 for an individual. Monthly income support for government-assisted refugees is provided during their first year in Canada only – less time, if they become self-sufficient sooner.
According to CARP, Canadian seniors currently receive $569.95 a month in Old Age Security upon reaching age 65, for life. Lower income pensioners are also eligible for the Guaranteed Income Supplement (an additional maximum $772 a month, reduced depending on other income.) None of this takes into account what is paid by the Canada Pension Plan to those who have contributed through their earnings years.
“We certainly argue that there is a growing number of seniors who need more income supports, and we lobby for that, but we never argue that the support should come from denying much needed support to refugee families,” Susan Eng, CARP’s executive vice-president told me.
 So all of these narratives are just total nonsense.

One might also note that if any of the people sharing these false or misleading memes or chain emails actually cared about the plight faced by seniors or those living in poverty in the country they would actually mobilize and organize to do something about it -- something other than sitting around on their computers smugly sharing ludicrous internet rubbish seeking to scapegoat refugees for our own failings as a society.

See also: Stop sharing the false -- and racist -- Ontario niqab driver's licence meme

See also: BC NDP posts a meme about "foreign" workers -- Xenophobes show up in approval

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