Seminar looks at sanctuary movement in Ontario

Two people at the forefront of the sanctuary movement in Toronto will speak at the latest CRS Seminar Series event, on Wednesday, March 16, sponsored by York’s Centre for Refugee Studies.

Mary Jo LeddyGuest Speakers Mary Jo Leddy (right) and Michael Creal will give a presentation from 12:30 to 2pm in 305 York Lanes, titled, “The sanctuary movement: what it is, and why it exists”.

Leddy is director of the Romero House for Refugees in Toronto. A member of the Ontario Sanctuary Coalition, she has been in the forefront of the sanctuary movement for many years. Leddy, who is the recipient of the Governor General’s Bronze Medal, the Ida Nudel Human Rights Award and the Order of Canada, earned a doctorate in the philosophy of religion in addition to five honorary doctorates. She is the founder of the New Catholic Times and the author of many books, including At the Border Called Hope: Where Refugees Are Neighbours, a finalist for the Trillium Award in 1997.

Michael Creal is an professor emeritus of humanities at York and a faculty member at the Centre for Refugee Studies. He is also Chair of the Ontario Sanctuary Coalition.

The Sanctuary Coalition is an ecumenical coalition, centred at the Church of the Holy Trinity, concerned with refugees whose claims, in the view of the coalition, have been wrongly rejected by Canada’s Refugee Board. The coalition came into existence in 1993 when it made a decision “not to abandon” 23 people whose claims had been vetted by the coalition, Amnesty International and other refugee agencies. When the coalition’s “civil initiative” was brought to the attention of the prime minister, he instructed that the cases be reviewed.