Wednesday, 13 January 2016 14:06

People’s misdirected fears should be rethought

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The first Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada. For many Canadians, accepting refugees is a source of national pride because it affirms how they see themselves as part of a welcoming people.


Others believe that opening the door to Syrian refugees allows potential terrorists into the country.
According to statistics published by Macleans magazine, the odds of dying in a terrorist attack are one in 1.5 million. Despite those exceptionally slim odds, 50 per cent of those surveyed feared dying at the hands of a terrorist.
The chances that you’ll die of heart disease are one in seven and yet only slightly more than 10 per cent of respondents were worried. When these numbers are put into words, they say that we’re scared about dying in an attack that won’t happen, but we’re barely concerned about a disease that has a very good chance of killing us.
How many people do you know have even witnessed a terror attack let alone been killed in one? Compare that to the number of your friends and loved ones who succumbed to heart disease or cancer, which also has a one in seven chance of killing Canadians.
I can’t count the number of people I know who’ve fallen to either disease. In fact, heart disease, cancer, kidney disease, dementia and accidents account for almost everyone I’ve had to say good-bye to.
I’ve never lost anyone to it, but I know two people who’ve witnessed terrorism.
One is a lady who fled from Northern Ireland. She sought refuge in Saskatchewan after religious extremists planted a bomb in the factory where she worked. The other person is my brother. He works across the street from the War Memorial in Ottawa and heard the fatal shot that ended Nathan Cirillo’s life. When my brother looked out the window, he saw Corporal Cirillo die, a painful experience to witness to say the least.
As tragic and senseless as the murder was, the sad and uncomfortable reality is that if a crazed person like Michael Zehaf-Bibeau wants shoot innocent people, there isn’t any law that’s going to stop him. Fortunately, there are so few people sick enough to commit acts of such brutal violence that we shouldn’t live in fear of them. And that applies to Canadians and Syrians alike.
Of the thousands of Syrians who’ll start a better life in Canada, will some of them get in trouble with the law? Of course, but no more than if you took 25,000 Canadians and moved them to a new country where the laws, religions and customs were different.
Most Syrians aren’t here to cause trouble. If anything, they want to avoid it, there’s been enough trouble in their lives. Our newest Canadians probably just want to get on with their lives. They aren’t going to be plotting to blow up bridges or take hostages. They’ll be too busy getting established, rebuilding their lives and making sure their children are adjusting.
I can imagine the police reports if we sent 25,000 Canadians to a new country. Beyond a doubt, there would be some who’d get arrested for alcohol-related offences such as driving drunk, fighting and domestic abuse. Alcohol and Canadians sometimes don’t mix well and we’ve all heard stories to prove it.
That being said, most people in any population are good. We know that about humanity. What we haven’t figured out is why politicians or those striving to become politicians would manipulate us into believing otherwise. 
Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing. For more information about his speaking engagements, phone 306-661-8975 or visit www.canoetoneworleans.com.

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Dominique Liboiron

Dominique Liboiron is a speaker, author, teacher, journalist and photographer. To raise awareness about heart disease and to honour the life of one of its victims, Liboiron canoed from Saskatchewan to New Orleans. He is the first person to undertake that journey. He enjoys outdoor sports such as camping, hunting, fly fishing and canoeing.