Friday, October 28, 2022

Nathan Cullen updates Legislature on Ukrainian relief actions, as Prince Rupert prepares for local fundraising event in early November

Nathan Cullen made use of his time in the Legislature on Thursday, to provide an update for MLA's on the  latest efforts by the British Columbia government to assist in the relocation of Ukrainian refugees. 

The Municipal Affairs Minister and MLA for Stikine provided the Legislature with a snapshot of the combined work of the Federal and Provincial government on the relocation program to date.

Today I rise as we mark eight months since Vladimir Putin created his unprovoked and illegal war on the people of Ukraine and provide an update to this House and to the people of our province on our collective efforts to help those brave people. So 7.7 million Ukrainians have been forced to flee. 

We supported the Canadian government's creation of a special visa, and more than 600,000 Ukrainians have applied, and 312,318 have been approved entry to Canada, 105,651 have come to Canada, and 8,020 have arrived here in British Columbia. 

I'm very specific with those numbers because each one represents a person, each one represents a story, and each one represents an opportunity for hope in the face of so much aggression and despair.

As part of his Thursday morning notes, the Minister also observed on the welcome that British Columbians have provided and the efforts in communities across the province to help the newcomers settle into a strange new place.

British Columbians have opened up their hearts and their homes and rightfully expect us as a government and us as a legislature to provide help in every way that we can. We've partnered with the United Way to provide round-the-clock support. We've supported our settlement agencies, who are already stressed, with their efforts, with $15 million, to increase their capacity from 17,000 people they can help a year to a little over 33,000 they can help, and provided support to our partners at the Ukrainian Canadian Congress of B.C., who have been stalwart at every moment along the way. 

Our province provides immediate access to the Medical Services Plan, 100 percent of eligible prescription costs, and recovers the costs, as well, of the federally required medical exam. B.C. provides immediate access for K-to-12 education and domestic tuition rates for anyone seeking education at college and university and free employment services. 

As a result, many Ukrainians are successfully settling into their new lives here in British Columbia. Yet tragically, this terrible war is not over. For those able to help, please visit our website welcoming Ukraine to offer whatever you can.

The MLA also noted of one specific arrival of a family in the South Cariboo region of the province and the welcome that they have found in the 100 Mile House area.

The theme of the response to the Russian aggression and the arrival of refugees made for more discussion as the morning session moved forward, with BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone and Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau also sharing observations on the situation and the BC welcome.

Those notes can be reviewed from the Legislature archive for Thursday morning, along with the video from the House, both can be found starting at 10:30 AM mark.

On the North Coast, residents of this region can continue to show their support towards the arriving refugees next week, that opportunity comes as Prince Rupert's local organization Rupert Society for Refugee support puts the final touches towards an event at the Highliner Plaza Hotel.

The event which is set for November 5th will offer a Ukrainian dinner for those in attendance, an evening of music and auction opportunities, the doors to the event open at 6PM.

As we noted earlier this month, the Society also introduced a Ukrainian Family which has arrived in the Prince Rupert area, providing a snapshot of their journey to the North Coast.

More notes on Community events can be explored here.

Our overview of items of interest from the BC Legislature can be reviewed here.

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