Will Syrian Refugees Prove to be a Problem for Canada?

by Lavallee1289 on September 20, 2016 - 5:58pm

Will Syrian Refugees Prove to be a Problem for Canada?


            Over the past year, a colossal controversy peaked above all other problems once conflict rose in Western Asia. This violence cause most of the country’s inhabitants to flee their homes in order to escape death and bloodshed. This caused a dilemma for the wealthy countries that both surround Syria, as well as the countries of North America, among others. The population of these countries were torn on whether letting in these poor souls was right, or whether shying away from them was the proper route, out of fear that it might bring terrorism into their lives.

The focus will be kept on Canada for their particular case study, where author Spencer P.F. Morrison of The Gateway expresses how, due to costs, Syrian refugees should not be allowed within our borders. He explains that logic and reason is the only way to look at this situation. Justin Trudeau planned on resettling over ten thousand refugees into Canada before 2016 even began. According to Morrison, Trudeau made a budget of $250 million, that’s about $10,000 per refugee, but according to the Canadian Press, the costs will be over $1.1 billion, which is $44,000 per refugee. This excludes important things like healthcare and education.

Morrison says that even though this is an emotional time, we should not shy away from the facts. And that instead of allowing these people into the country of Canada, we should instead be sending funds to Turkish refugee camps, like “Kilis Ocupinar [which] is a permanent camp made up of repurposed shipping containers. […] refugees are provided with healthcare, primary schooling and basic necessities” (Morrison).

On the other hand, author James Cowen of Canadian Business, seems to think the opposite. While he believes that lots of money is being given to their refugees, he doesn’t think of it as a problem. He states that Canada alone has “accepted 60,000 “boat people” from Southeast Asia"(Cowen) between the years of 1979 and 1981. He also expresses that, while a wealthy country, is aging. Most of the population are older, and therefore as a country looking to survive the years to come, we need refugees to help us function. That if “done properly, bringing refugees into our country isn’t about charity. It’s about investing in the future—both theirs and ours” (Cowen).

While Morrison makes a fine point, I personally disagree. Shying away from emotion and focusing on logic turns a blind eye on our society’s moral claims and principles. Claims such as human life, no matter the race or origin, is valuable. Furthermore, it ignores another prescriptive claim that we should act towards others as we would have others act towards us. While we shouldn’t ignore the facts, we needn’t sacrifice our humanity to do it.

In the case of James Cowen, he clearly keeps in line with facts, but doesn’t ignore core values that are present in our society. He keeps in line with our moral prescriptive claims that only a bad person would refuse to help someone in trouble. While taking in Syrian refugees may very well prove to be a burden in the future, we cannot focus on the consequences of our actions and allow them to choose for us because in reality, we don’t really know what will come of our decisions, not truly. Which is why allowing in these refugees is worth the cost of keeping them safe, because in our society, here in Canada, it is what we consider to be morally right.




Morrison, Spencer P.F. “Due to costs, Canada shouldn’t accept Syrian refugees.” The Gateway. December 2015. https://thegatewayonline.ca/2015/12/due-to-costs-canada-shouldnt-accept-syrian-refugees/


Cowen, James. “Why Canada should welcome more Syrian refugees – a lot more.” Canadian Business. September 2015. http://www.canadianbusiness.com/blogs-and-comment/why-canada-should-welcome-more-syrian-refugees-a-lot-more/



First of all, great topic choice. Very relevant, and good job on picking a side while still being fair in addressing both sides of the argument with facts. It seems you personally view the refugee crisis through a utilitarianism lens, in which Syrian refugees are a net cost to Canadian taxpayers. Therefore, accepting refugees will not produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people. If your numbers are accurate, through strictly reason and financial analysis you do indeed prove mass Syrian refugees can be detrimental to Canadian society, economically at least, in the short term. However, this is a classic case of Act Utilitarianism which has been proven many times to be flat-out morally wrong. The no exception, rigid boundaries, of Act Utilitarianism has made it fairly easy to poke holes in it’s logic. Because of this Utilitarians came up with another framework of the definition, called Rule Utilitarianism. Essentially Rule Utilitarianism has the same core principles as Act Utilitarianism but takes into consideration exceptions and reality. The one issue with your analyses is that you assume these refugees will always be a net cost to taxpayers by staying in the lower class, therefore being detrimental. However in reality, you and I know this isn’t true. Refugees can recirculate the money back into Canada, and perhaps within one or two generations be in the middle class at which point they will no longer be a cost but rather an asset to Canada. Yes, a few may be detrimental to society, but just like european immigrants in the long term accepting refugees will be the greatest good for the greatest amount of people, both immigrants and Canadians.