LETTERS: Be proactive with refugees

We are seeing the effects of an aging population with an overall declining population.

We are seeing the effects of an aging population (hospital construction) with an overall declining population (closing schools).

Japan has faced this situation for many years and it is accentuated by their lack of immigration. The Japanese economy has stagnated for decades as a result.

At the same time we are witnessing the largest displacement of human beings since the Second World War as refugees flee Syria and Afghanistan by the millions. These people are just like us. In their home countries they are engineers, business people, chefs; they don’t want to leave but they have to protect their families.

I think Germany is one of the few countries to really understand what a unique opportunity this massive migration presents. Germany is experiencing a huge shortage of skilled workers and also seeing aging issues in their economy.

The Germans are beginning a massive screening process on arriving refugees and they realize that many of those people arriving with nothing are skilled workers and can be easily trained to learn new skills. Germany, unlike France, realizes that the faster these people are trained and start working, the better of everyone will be. The future of Germany’s productivity may lie with these people.

I think Penticton should follow Germany’s lead. With schools closing, we have the infrastructure to create large training centres for these screened, skilled refugees. We could become a training hub for Western Canada. The idea would be the refugees arrive here and receive English as a Second Language (ESL) training as well as trades and other vocational courses. After their training, they would go to regions around Western Canada that offer employment opportunities.

The Canadian government mentioned they want to focus on refugees who are in Lebanon. This would suit us well. The Beqaa Valley of western Syria and Lebanon is a large wine growing area and is probably not dissimilar to the Okanagan. Refugees from this area might find a familiarity here.

To be successful, effective screening must be done. We would look for families with a skilled breadwinner. Once the breadwinner is trained, they may go to where the jobs are and leave their families here, as many in the oil patch do now. This would fill our schools again with children of appreciative folks, glad of the second chance.

If you give a person a fish, you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish and you feed them for life.

Let’s be proactive and give these refugees a second chance by establishing a Training Centre which will give these folks the training to succeed in our economy.

Let’s do our share in dealing with this human catastrophe.

Brian Hughes, Penticton


Just Posted

Summerland cidery Millionaires' Row is hosting a Father's Day car and art show. (Facebook)
Vintage cars, art and cider for Father’s Day

Summerland’s Millionaires’ Row Cider Co. is hosting the car and art show

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

James Miller, the managing editor at the Penticton Herald, has been voted in for Jake Kimberley’s vacated council seat. (Submitted)
James Miller elected as Penticton city councillor

Penticton also voted yes to allowing up to 25 years for a Skaha Marina contract

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

There was high voter turnout for the first of three advance voting days for the Penticton city by-election.
Penticton city by-election general voting day is today, June 19

737 voters on June 9 in comparison to 2018 general election, which had 1,001 on first day

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read