From the transcript of Mayor McKay's statement at the Committee of the Whole, Monday, November 23, 2015 (check against delivery):
As Mayor and Council of the City of Nanaimo, we wish to say a few words about the Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
Our Canadian society is built on generation after generation of newcomers. For over 150 years, individuals, couples and families have left what they consider familiar for the chance of a better life here. As residents of Nanaimo, we are proud of this national heritage and we are proud to welcome all newcomers.
Tonight we are speaking to you from the traditional territories of the Snuneymuxw people and we must acknowledge that it is they, the original welcoming committee in our community, who have shared this beautiful place the longest.
Over the next few months this welcoming tradition will again be seen as Syrian refugees begin arriving in communities across Canada, including possibly Nanaimo. Please be assured that we are preparing for their arrival, collaborating with our partners in Provincial ministries, at Island Health, the Immigrant Welcome centre, VIU and many other Island communities to ensure that we can provide a respectful and considered response to the needs of these people.
The City of Nanaimo will strongly support this collective effort to successfully integrate Syrian refugees into the fabric of our community and to ensure that the gracious nature and good heart of Nanaimo shines through from the first day they arrive.
We understand that the agencies responsible for our nation’s security have taken every measure to ensure that the safety of Canadians is not compromised, and are confident that this group of newcomers will enrich our community in many ways. We are a welcoming, confident and caring city, and it is both a privilege and a joy to share our good fortune with others.
We will distribute more information as it becomes available and we will be working quickly to put in place the needed resources and supports. For those who wish to provide their assistance, please channel your communications through the website and email address shown on the screen.
BC Government Syrian Refugee Readiness Fund