Friday March 11, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated March 12, 2022]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the humanitarian support aspects of dealing with an expected influx of Ukrainian refugees in BC, today Premier John Horgan said this about and (via media) to Russian leader Vladimir Putin: “Step down, step back, and get the heck out of Ukraine.”
Addressing BC media at noon, BC’s premier also noted that Canadians and the free world are: “Standing as one up against a violent dictator.”
Premier Horgan — who had met this morning with representatives of various local Ukrainian organizations and associations who expressed being overwhelmed by the sudden sheer load and magnitude of the situation — said that housing and access to seats in the K-12 education system are the primary ways that BC is preparing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees.
He outlined that most Ukrainian refugees will land first in Toronto, then make their way across the country.
Local Ukrainian community organizations have been receiving phone calls and requests, and are “overwhelmed by the generosity of British Columbians”. The BC Government is stepping in to help organize and coordinate things. As Horgan put it today, there needs to be an “infrastructure to accept the benevolence”.
A 1-800 number will be set up for receiving offers of help from the public.
He specifically noted that Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is working on finding ways for BC schools to accommodate a sudden influx of students from Ukraine.
Island Social Trends is awaiting a reply back from the Ministry of Education, and also the local SD62 (west shore and Sooke) school district, as to any preparations that are being made.
Premier Horgan says that most incoming refugees are likely to be women and children (as men age 18 to 60 have stayed behind to fight in what is now a war zone).
Today the Premier — whose riding is in the west shore (primarily Langford and Sooke) — said that among people he knows (particularly in his faith community) are quickly “renovating basements” and clearing out extra rooms presently serving as storage. This is to make livable spaces available for incoming refugees.
Translation services will also be a key requirement for succeeding at properly accommodating the needs of people who will also likely arrive with the need to integrate (at least for a short time), and with some degree of trauma.
===== RELATED ARTICLES:
Canadians offering support for Ukraine (February 26, 2022)
Streamline and speed up handling of Ukraine refugees says NDP (February 25, 2022)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been following news of the educational sector since 2014, with an up-close look at SD62.