Shannon Rutledge

While Canada has become a safe-haven for refugees fleeing persecution, baseless stereotypes about why refugees leave their country, as well as their presence in Canada, continue to be part of a national narrative. This paper explores three of these stereotypes in depth – refugees as resource stealers, queue jumpers, and security threats – and uses existing literature from the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Canadian Council for Refugees and Amnesty International, as well as the work of leading scholars, to show all bare no resemblance to the real situations facing most refugees who enter Canada. These stereotypes inhibit Canadians from appreciating the significant social, political and economic contributions refugees make to the country. In order for Canadians to recognize these contributions, stereotypes like these need to be exposed as falsehoods.

Bien que le Canada soit devenu un refuge sécuritaire pour des réfugiés qui cherchent à fuir la persécution, des stéréotypes sans fondements, par rapport aux raisons pour lesquelles ils quittent leur pays natal, ainsi que leur présence au Canada, continuent à faire partie du récit national. Cet article effectue une analyse approfondie de trois de ces stéréotypes: le refugié comme voleurs de ressources, coupeur de file d‘attente et menace à la sécurité nationale. En se penchant sur la littérature existante provenant de l’agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, du Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés, d‘Amnistie internationale, ainsi que s‘appuyant sur de nombreux travaux universitaires, cet article cherche à montrer que ces stéréotypes ne ressemblent en rien aux situations auxquelles les réfugiés font face en arrivant au Canada. De plus, ces stéréotypes empêchent les Canadiens d‘apprécier les contributions sociales, politiques et économiques des réfugiés. Pour que les Canadiens puissent reconnaître ces contributions ces stéréotypes doivent être dénoncés.

Shannon is in her last year in obtaining a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Human Rights, with a minor in Sociology from Carleton University. Traveling to Peru in 2007, Shannon began her journey in learning about development, human rights, social justice and the different ways that Canada operates overseas. Focusing her research specifically on corporate accountability, Shannon is interested in Canadian corporations operating within Canada and abroad and their involvement in human rights violations. Currently an intern at the Canadian Centre for International Justice in Ottawa, Shannon spends her time working with and advocating for survivors of genocide, torture and other atrocities to seek redress and bring perpetrators to justice.


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