Jun 21, 2013
Stephen Lewis Joins New National Advocacy Network, says Canada Must Change Refugee Policies
Stephen Lewis and Michele Landsberg have joined forces with J-RAN, the recently founded Jewish Refugee Action Network, to advocate against the federal government's decision to change the refugee determination system and to cut refugee healthcare coverage.
J-RAN founder, Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld, recognized a growing concern within the Jewish community that the federal government's refugee policies fail to respect Canada's humanitarian tradition and democratic principles.
He decided to bring together concerned individuals to advocate against the federal government's recent legislation, the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act and associated regulations.
"This legislation has the effect of a dramatic drop in refugees coming to Canada, unfairly targets whole groups of refugees, and has a harsh impact on the health and well-being of those in need," says Rabbi Bielfeld.
Stephen Lewis and Michele Landsberg have agreed to act as J-RAN's Honourary Canadian Chairs to help raise the profile of the group's concerns.
"I am proud to be a part of this vital movement with so many concerned and caring people," Mr. Lewis said. "The Harper government's legislation puts the most vulnerable at risk, particularly by denying them access to health care and by violating international human rights. This tarnishes Canada's international reputation as a compassionate nation."
The organization welcomes multi-faith and multicultural support. Its board is comprised of doctors, lawyers, rabbis, and prominent media and social justice personalities, drawn from a broad coalition of organizations, who are united in their opposition to the federal government's refugee policy.
Other members of the J-RAN board include Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Chair of Ve'ahavta; Mary Jo Leddy, founder of Romero House; and Maureen Silcoff, Toronto-based immigration and refugee lawyer.
"J-RAN upholds the Jewish maxim of 'Tzedek Tzedek Tirdof Justice, Justice shall you pursue'", says Bernie Farber. "We seek justice on behalf of refugees to our land who do not have a voice."
J-RAN encourages the public to spread the word about their organization and to consider providing financial aid or volunteering with the newly formed group.
Although not yet up and running, J-RAN's website can be accessed within a few weeks at the following address: www.jran.ca.
SOURCE: Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP
/CONTACT: Rabbi Arthur Bielfeld CM, Founder, Rabbi Emeritus Temple Emanu-El
416-222-4225 Maureen Silcoff, immigration and refugee lawyer
416-322-1480 Bernie Farber, former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress and Chair of Ve'ahavta
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