Refugee Settlement Within #Guelph – Our City Will Help

A young migrant's hair becomes stuck while crawling under a barbed fence with her family at the Hungarian-Serbian border near Roszke, on August 27, 2015. As Europe struggles with its worst migrant crisis since World War II, Hungary has become, like Italy and Greece, a "frontline" state. So far this year, police say around 141,500 migrants have been intercepted crossing into Hungary, mostly from neighbouring Serbia. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEKATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP/Getty Images

There are a handful of people in our city that have been telling me that we shouldn’t be helping any refugees.

To those that are still not hearing my response clear enough and to those that continue to put down the plans that the city, private groups and citizens have – to save people’s lives – I’ll state it loud and clear yet again:


The most common comment I hear is “you should be helping those within our own city, not people from half-way around the world.” –  We aren’t a city of this “OR” that. Guelph is a city where we can do this “AND” that.

I also found a quote last week that sums up this situation perfectly for me:

We are blaming a refugee crisis for terrorism, when we really should be blaming terrorism for a refugee crisis.”

With news growing over the last two months of several local communities, faith groups and now citizens like Jim Estill sponsoring families to come to our city, I felt it was important to explore a city-wide approach to the settlement of these families that will eventually arrive.

This is why on Dec 7th I will be bringing forward a notice of motion for council to consider (on Dec 14th):

“That the City of Guelph explore ways of working within and outside the City of Guelph on resources, services, programs or placement opportunities for refugees.”

This council already has approved $5100 towards helping to sponsor refugees but it’s time (council willing) we think beyond money and start thinking about how our city will embrace them, provide for them and to help them integrate into one of the best cities in the world. If there’s any city that can do this, it’s Guelph!

There are many pictures of this tragedy that have brought me to my knees. This collection of photos is some of them.


I encourage all Guelphites to step up and support such a noble and life saving/changing cause as this.

Thank you,


P.S – An Update: I recently discussed this issue with Lloyd Longfield a few days ago as our federal representative. He is working on this file locally too, and understands the value in coordinating our collective efforts to help those arriving here. It’s great to have all levels of government working on this so well.

37 responses to “Refugee Settlement Within #Guelph – Our City Will Help”

  1. […] in today’s blog post demonstrated his support for welcoming refugees to Guelph. Here is the link to the blog […]

  2. Peter McCaskell Avatar

    I was proud to live in Guelph before Mayor Guthrie’s announcement that we’ll be helping refugees – now I am even PROUDER! I understand there are significant challenges, and possibly there will be a few snafus along the way, and there is always fear of the unknown; but as a caring and supportive community we are called to help when our fellow human beings are in trouble, and these poor folks are in desperate trouble. Way to go Mayor Cam Guthrie! Way to go Guelph! Count me in!

    Peter McCaskell

  3. Bill Downes Avatar
    Bill Downes

    We must never let fear or hate win, because then we become less and then terror wins. For every person that refuses to help, for every person that tries to spread fear, ten of us must stand up and proclaim that we will not stand idly by while others suffer, that we will help, regardless of the cost, regardless of the “risk”.
    I will help. I will not watch while others suffer and do nothing. I will NOT let the haters win.

    Will you?

    1. Paul McMullen Avatar

      Love it, excellent choice of words.

  4. Lloyd Longfield Avatar
    Lloyd Longfield

    Guelph is a shining example of a caring community that steps forward to help when there is a need. So many are stepping forward on this humanitarian crisis our challenge is how to not trip over ourselves. Then again if there is a little tripping over ourselves to hold the door open for struggling families to get to Canada after months or years in refugee camps that’s ok too. I will be briefed on the federal efforts this coming week to see how to add this support to our community’s support. Way to go Cam. It will truly take a full community effort and our community is full speed ahead. (As usual)

  5. sandy atanasoff Avatar
    sandy atanasoff

    I am waiting for an organized and detailed plan. Where is it?

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      It’s coming at a full community meeting in Dec. stay tuned…

  6. Vicki Hodgkinson Avatar
    Vicki Hodgkinson

    Thank you, Mayor Guthrie! I am very proud of the way this City is stepping up and happy to do my part.

  7. Kimm Khagram Avatar
    Kimm Khagram

    Thank you so much for your clear message that Guelph supports refugees. This is not a left/right issue or a choice between helping one group in need vs. another but an international crisis that we have a responsibility to respond to.

  8. Jack Avatar


  9. Paul McMullen Avatar

    So proud to be a part of this city, thanks Cam!!

  10. Erin Avatar

    Do we know who will be collecting clothing, furniture, etc. for the 50 families that Jim Estill is sponsoring? Is the refugeeguelph link looking for items for these families as well?

  11. Jacqui Avatar

    Cam please let me know if there is any way I can help co-ordinate the donation process.
    You can contact me on Facebook.

  12. Kim Drohan Avatar
    Kim Drohan

    You make me proud. My family will be happy to donate anything needed.

  13. […] in today’s blog post demonstrated his support for welcoming refugees to Guelph. Here is the link to the blog […]

  14. Jaya James Avatar

    So happy to hear the City of Guelph leadership is taking this step. Thank you Cam.

    Also, there is an ongoing initiative to coordinate the efforts of all the refugee sponsorship groups within Guelph and area. The Refugee Sponsorship Forum (, is working with the Local Immigration Partnership, the Muslim Society of Guelph along with some others to spearhead this coordination. To receive updates on what is happening you can subscribe to the Forum website.

  15. Jenny Avatar

    Please tell me how we can donate clothing for them. I would like to know when where etc to help in any way. Thanks you very much. Jenny

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Thanks Jenny!

      1. Pat Avatar

        I have a brand new ladies winter coat & other women’s clothing. Just need to know where to go.

  16. Concerned Citizen Avatar
    Concerned Citizen

    Without starting a war, What about our veterans who are living on the streets and in poverty? What are the great citizens of Canada (Guelph) doing for them??????? After they made this country so great and so safe for the rest of ?????????

    1. Trevor Avatar

      I’m pretty sure we’re doing the same things for them. Donating boots, food, money, and time.

  17. Chris Avatar

    Our family had thought about moving back to Guelph. Now hearing this news that Guelph is gonna help the refugee crisis and not listen to the people. I am thinking twice on moving to my home town. Sorry to hear this news

    1. Trevor Avatar

      Cam Guthrie is listening to the people. Most Canadians (over 60%*, likely over 70%) agree with the effort, and Guelph is one of the largest collections of people on the political left (those most vocal about taking them in). Regardless of political stripes though, there wasn’t a single candidate in the recent federal election that was against taking in refugees; I think that should show how much it was wanted across the political spectrum. The lowest was Harper who wanted over 10000.**

      Refugees are not a security threat (you’re tens of thousands of times more likely to be killed in a car accident in Canada***, and if you’re worried about murder specifically hundreds of times more likely to be killed by your own family than a stranger [of any kind, including a terrorist]****; of which statistically there will be 0 in a pool of 25000*****), refugees don’t drain our systems (every piece of research ever says they do the opposite of that******; within a year they are paying more taxes than the average Canadian), and they are nice every-day people*******.

      Plus, by taking in refugees we’re saving lives (an important act to most people). In addition, Canada survives economically because of immigrant intake; this country wouldn’t be successful without it. By taking in refugees we aren’t just helping them; we’re helping Canada. Bonus points, taking refugees does direct damage to ISIS/ISIL/Gaesh’s infrastructure********.


      1. tomgyrll Avatar

        This is an excellent post, Trevor. The good people of Guelph will overcome the ignorance and fear.

  18. Stephanie Langford Avatar
    Stephanie Langford

    Has anything been set up for donating clothing, toys, personal care items, food, etc that these people will need? I’d like to help.

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Amazing! Try

      1. Laura Avatar

        Wow you are so blind maybe you should read the Quran and make sure you understand Islam before you make the decision to support the settlement of refugees which will affect the entire city. I say wow arrogant and sad Mayor Cam Guthrie. I will say it again keep your head in the sand and continue to sell out Canada along with everyone else. If the decision is this and that and not this or that why are they children attending schools in Guelph hungry and people that are homeless. You are the Mayor of Guelph get your priorities straight it should be the tax payers not your hero complex. Pathetic and typical. I hope you are muslim and not an infidel.

  19. Dominica Saliba Avatar
    Dominica Saliba

    I would like to donate some clothes and toys/books that my little one has either outgrown or doesn’t need. Is there a way I can make up Christmas boxes for the children? Please let me know how I can go about doing this. I want to help make this Christmas a nice one, for these kids! Thanks!!

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Great stuff!

  20. Katie O'Connor Avatar
    Katie O’Connor

    I’m happy and proud of you for standing up for this cause.
    I will help any way I can. I don’t have money, but I can donate clothes, toys, school supplies, etc. I run a daycare and was a teacher if you need volunteers to teach/tutor our new Guelphites.

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      How kind of you! Here’s a link to help!

  21. Paul C Avatar

    Well said Mayor Cam! We can do it AND now is the time.

    1. Cam Guthrie Avatar
      Cam Guthrie

      Thank you!

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