I am the co-chair of Faith in the City. A group of 4 women from the Anglican and United Churches penned a letter to the Mayor regarding his statement that Toronto could not afford any more refugees. Here is the prelude written by my co-Chair, John Ryerson, and the letter itself.
Language matters especially in these days of fear and hate being generated against some of the most vulnerable people in the world. Faith in the City is encouraging Mayor Tory to ensure the language "remains welcoming and inclusive of all ethnicities." Please share the letter and also respond to the Mayor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
Dear Mayor Tory,
The undersigned members of the Faith in the City coalition would like to express our support for your efforts to seek partnership with the federal and provincial governments in order to address the housing and shelter crisis in the city. The lack of affordable housing and the need for more shelter beds have been serious issues for some time and require immediate attention from all levels of government.
We recognize that the unprecedented influx of refugees has increased pressure on a chronically overburdened system, and that it creates a situation which calls for collaboration and creative solutions. We are deeply concerned, however, that the language we all use in drawing attention to this crisis should remain welcoming to refugees and inclusive of all ethnic, religious, and social groups, in line with Toronto's decision to identify as a sanctuary city, and avoid creating openings for those already hostile to migration to make refugees a scapegoat for Toronto's problems. This is of particular concern given the recent statements by Ontario's new premier. As representatives of faith groups working to alleviate homelessness and welcome refugees, we would appreciate the opportunity to work with the city - with all levels of government - to help shape this discourse, and to collaborate in developing creative responses both to the influx of refugees, and to the ongoing need for a full spectrum of shelter and housing services.