LETTER: Xenophobic attitude toward refugees is hypocritical

LETTER: Xenophobic attitude toward refugees is hypocritical

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Re: Refugee influx part of region’s housing problem (Letters, Oak Bay News, July 6)

Bruce Filan’s recent letter (‘Refugee influx part of the region’s housing problem’ – 06 July) is archetypal of xenophobic attitudes throughout history, but it has particular comic irony coming from a resident of western Canada, a region that we all know for the last 168 years has been settled massively by immigrants and their recent descendants – myself, and no doubt Mr. Filan, included. My parents and their ancestors settled from Iceland and England; my own family and I enjoyed a soujourn as immigrants in Switzerland for 5 years, where our contributions were welcomed, and thankfully only very rarely did I encounter a reflexive anti-immigrant sentiment towards us. In that country such xenophobia usually was tinged strongly with anti-Muslim feeling, which is of course a fashionable bias among xenophobes today, though surely mostly simply because of where today’s immigrants happen to come from: a tiresome pattern of the last several thousand years.

It is hypocrisy to arbitrarily draw a line at one’s own generation (or a grandparent’s) for when rapid immigration should end, or when housebuilding should end; say, after a given building boom in the 1910s or 1950s. A more realistic view of the world’s development would view it as a continuum inclusive of the long-term future, and constant change, rather than a self-serving view predicated on one’s own lifespan representing a sort of pinnacle, or end, of history, as some in Oak Bay would seemingly have it.

Samuel Mercer

Oak Bay