Andrea Horwath to Premier Wynne: Declare Ontario a "Sanctuary Province"

January 31, 2017

Hon. Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario
Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1

Dear Premier Wynne:

Ontarians are dismayed by United States President Donald Trump’s alarming and discriminatory ban on refugees and the citizens of seven primarily Muslim countries.

Like millions of our American neighbours, we believe that a ban against individuals based on religion, race, or country of origin must never be tolerated by Canada. President Trump’s actions are disastrous for innocent people and put the lives of thousands of vulnerable refugees at risk.

As the House of Commons prepares to hold an emergency debate this evening, I am writing to request that you formally urge the Prime Minister to immediately condemn President Trump’s ban, in the strongest possible terms, and to announce that Canada will welcome impacted refugees. The federal government must understand that Ontario will fully support all concrete steps to aid refugees and vulnerable people, including lifting the 1,000 person cap on G5 private refugee sponsorships this year.

Ontario can and must also step up and lead. In addition, I urge you to declare Ontario to be a sanctuary province. In recent years, cities like Toronto and Hamilton have shown tremendous leadership by making local services accessible to all residents, regardless of their immigration status. Now, our province must do the same. We must guarantee that services will always be accessible to everyone in Ontario.

Furthermore, as we stand in solidarity with Muslim Canadians and grieve for the victims of the terrorist attack in Québec City, we must redouble our efforts to fight hate and Islamophobia. We must take concrete actions to affirm that diversity and inclusiveness are our greatest strengths.

Ontario must take real action to show that our communities are always stronger and safer when we are welcoming, inclusive, and when no one lives in fear. I urge you to act without delay.

Sincerely,

Andrea Horwath, Leader, Ontario’s New Democrats