A Vernon politician continues to stand apart from his colleagues when it comes to refugees.
Coun. Scott Anderson was the lone opponent Monday to providing transit and swim passes for a year to a Syrian family of four living in the city.
“We all want to be welcoming and do nice things but it’s another $1,000 and we can expect other requests for $1,000,” he said.
“This is not our money. It’s taxpayer money.”
According to city staff, a family pass for two adults and two kids (preschool to 18 years) is $837 for a year.
Anderson also accused the rest of council of treating refugees differently than local residents, and particularly those in need.
“These are folks (refugees) who have a support network behind them. The working poor don’t have that same network behind them.”
Anderson waged a similar battle against council in May when free transit and swim passes were presented to another Syrian family.
On Monday, Anderson’s comments were challenged directly by Coun. Juliette Cunningham.
“Their lives have been totally destroyed,” she said of the refugees.
“It’s a small token that we welcome them to Canada and to our community. They will become contributing members of our community.”
In direct response to Anderson, Cunningham pointed out that city council provides tax dollars to many groups and issues.
“It’s our role. It’s a judgement call. We’ve been elected to make these decisions.”
She also stated that the city has taken action to help residents on social assistance through bus and recreation passes.
Support for helping the refugees also came from Coun. Brian Quiring.
“These people are under extreme hardship.”
But Anderson stood his ground.
“When here, they are safe and fed and no more exceptional than the folks that have been here for 20 years,” he said.