Sanctuary is a concept born in the minds of science fiction writers, that place forlorn vagabonds or survivors seek in exchange for miserable existence under extraordinary circumstances. Serving as a beacon of hope, a fleeting gossamer promise of returning to life as it should be. Safe, reasonable, welcoming – a hidden Shangra La amidst the chaos of brutal conflict.

In practical terms, “Sanctuary” has become the buzz word given cities dedicated to protecting the rights of migrant  or illegal immigrants. Cities like Toronto (the first Canadian city to officially declare sanctuary status in Feb. 2013) who promise access to housing and social services regardless of status. Hamilton, Ontario followed and now Vancouver has raised the possibility of a “sanctuary” designation. In essence, the sanctuary city follows a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy – don’t ask about immigration status, and don’t tell Federal immigration officials about known or suspected illegals.

It’s difficult to explain how I feel about “sanctuaries”. My gut reaction screams “danger” – we are a nation of tolerant, open minded people – why create sanctuaries promoting safe haven from the Federal government? I’ll admit bile rises ever so slightly when asking myself if this is a symptom of Stephen Harper’s Canada –  a Canada Harper forsakes in favor of playing with the “big boys”, a man intent on unraveling all that Canada stands for.

Once upon a time Canada was sanctuary. Far from perfect, not lacking injustice or shameful episodes of lunacy –  yet a sanctuary for those escaping slavery, discrimination and persecution. Canadians were different – strong, principled and accepting – a vast nation of polite, hard working citizens believing in social justice and inclusion.

I have a hard time swallowing the concept of  cities declaring themselves “sanctuary”. It’s like waking up and finding myself in a parallel universe – on the surface appearing normal, while frantically trying to convince others something is very wrong. Under the thumb of Stephen Harper our nation teeters on the brink of calamity . We all need to wake up and understand – our sanctuary didn’t require sanctuaries before he came along.


12 thoughts on “Sanctuary

  1. In reading this my mind went afield… sadly it does that a lot.

    Being in OR has had me thinking a lot about the homeless. We had them in WI but they were much less visible than here — and here they seem a disproportionate part of the population and we aren’t even in the most area with the most numerous.

    Sanctuary sounds like such a nice, humane thing but there are so many concomitant problems that like yourself I cringe when people talk about sanctuary. But this idea of providing sanctuary for people who aren’t where they are legally seems particularly fraught with problems. Somehow I can’t see that committing ourselves to the protection of those scofflaws is a way to encourage the population to obey law — and society without law is — anarchy.

    I dunno…. Hard to think straight of a Saturday Morning. Sigh.

    • The problem in Canada (in part anyway) stems from our government slashing services for immigrants, women, veterans, and the poor. All of the above SO un-Canadian it makes me nuts.

      As I said – sanctuary (in my mind at least) belongs in fiction – my knees tremble when thinking Canadian cities are now putting “sanctuary” status to a vote. What does that say about a truly crappy government? 🙂

  2. It is an odd concept, and who or what would they truly protect against?
    It is similar to the concept of asylum, a status offered by many cities and countries over the years.
    Which allows me to sneakily slide this in….
    The city of Avignon was once a place of asylum during the time of two Popes.
    The Avignon area grew a cash crop called Madder. ( a plant used for red dye)
    An asylum that grew madder all year round. How’s that for wacky!

  3. I feel for you up there with Harper. Back home we now have the Abbott Effect taking hold. Like canada, our politics used to be innocuous with both major parties centrists. I don’t know what’s happened, but the right shifted really to the right… into an unhealthy right.

    • Don’t laugh but I blame George W. Bush! Before that nincompoop came along, the right at least tried to be polite. His bat shit style spread far beyond the borders of America – Harper fancies himself a righteous champion of fundamentalist nonsense. Second – those Americans not ready for a black president went ape shit and sadly the poop flies across our border.

  4. As a great philosopher once said… in a movie I think…
    “I live for that shit” (Vin Diesel)

    Harper isn’t moved by anything except by this motto.
    “I live for that shit”

    You could turn blue… he does not care, just like his henchpersons.

    I am sure you saw the scene of a veteran’s spouse turning red with rage after Julian Fantino had the courage to ignore her.

    Now that took some guts from Fantino’s part, the kind John Wayne would have like to portray in his WII movies.

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