Canadian tech community pens open letter in response to Trump

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Canada’s most prolific tech leaders came together in support of their country’s values on a prolific January afternoon.

The week following President Donald Trump’s election have seen several controversial executive orders issued by the Republican leader. One executive order in particular has inspired protests across the United States and backlash from countries around the world.

This order bans travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, which include Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

The Canadian tech community has issued an open letter to the world that condemns the actions taken by President Trump in his first nine days. The letter stands to support the message of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who has recently expressed his view that Canada must remain inclusive to all nationalities.

When the letter first made headlines, 150 members of the Canadian tech community had signed it through a Google doc that circulated on social media earlier today. Since then, that number has reportedly grown to reach 500.

Furthermore, the letter called on the prime minister to immediately give temporary residency to those displaced by the U.S. order. Signatories include notable members of Canada’s tech community, including Ryerson’s DMZ, members of the City of Toronto, Dragon’s Den investor Michelle Romanow and Shopify COO Harley Finkelstein.

Major technology entrepreneurs have also joined the initiative by signing the document, including Kobo and League founder Michael Serbinis, MaRS Discovery District CEO Ilse Treurnicht and Omers Ventures CEO John Ruffolo.

In a blog post on League’s website, Serbinis wrote about his experience with immigration and applauded the Canadian tech community for coming together to respond to the Trump administration.

“I am the son of immigrants. I am here because Canada admitted my Father who was leaving civil war torn Greece for hope of a better life. The United States refused him. Macedonians were persecuted by the Greek government, and while he did have a hard time leaving the country, Canada welcomed him with open arms. I’m here for that reason. I’d like to help someone like my Father today,” wrote Serbinis about the travel ban.

“The principle of inclusion, acceptance of diversity, living in harmony with people of all walks — these are Canadian values, they are our values. This is a time to speak up loudly, and act vigorously. I’m happy to do my part,” Serbinis concluded.

According to recent tweets from the CBC, Canada’s immigration minster, the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, has confirmed that Canada will grant temporary residence permits to those stranded by the United States ban

As the letter, facilitated by Betakit, continues to circulate several publications such as the CBC have published it on their platforms. Canadian tech leaders have been outspoken about Donald Trump’s candidacy and election for quite some time and seem to continually support this message.

MobileSyrup reached out to several members of the tech community who signed the open letter. Saadia Muzzaffar, the founder of Tech Girls Canada and frequent speaker told MobileSyrup that she believes in Canada’s duty to uphold the inclusive policies the country has traditionally held dear.

“I migrated to Canada with my family when I was 19 years old, and I am the child of parents and grandparents who were all displaced from their homelands to search for peace and prosperity for their families, so the immigrant and refugee story is a personal one for me. Putting down roots by contributing to a new nation’s fabric and making it a home with great intentionality is a rewarding yet difficult mission to take on. One that requires commitment, resilience and faith,” she told MobileSyrup in a private message.

She went on to say that as a prosperous nation, it’s Canada’s responsibility to be a safe harbour for those who’ve been affected by the ban.

“We stand on the shoulders of giants, with both the US and Canada being countries built on the backs of immigrants and slaves,” she continued.

“This is not a charitable endeavour, it is our duty as global citizens.”

Other tech community members who’s signed the form include the CEO of technology PR firm Herscu and Goldsilver, Corey Herscu, whose own parents immigrated to Canada from Romania decades ago.

As a child of immigrants, Herscu calls the ban “embarrassing.”

“You’re classifying everyone because of that one percent of people who are radical or terrorists. It’s not only that it’s ignorant, but it’s wrong. It’s been fuelled by ego, and hatred and ignorance,” said Herscu.

Herscu went on to say that the Muslim-majority countries not included in the ban are those in which Trump has no business interests. This statement was confirmed recently by a Washington Post story, which states that the Trump Organization does not appear to be active in the nations restricted by the travel ban.

In addition, Abdullah Snobar, the executive director of the DMZ also signed the form in support of Canada’s continued inclusivity. The DMZ is known in many circles as Canada’s most highly regarded university incubator.

The Canadian tech community is inclusive, diverse and conscientious. At the DMZ, we’re greatly concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that would marginalize a group of people. As a united tech community, we’ll continue to make our views on these issues heard.”

The number of signatories on the list continues to grow, and major tech companies, including BlackBerry and Twitter Canada, have come out in support of the statements made through the open letter.

The Canadian government is in the process of responding to the Trump order and more information will be given as it becomes available.

Add your name.

Update: More 1000 individuals from 600 companies have added their names to the open letter. 

Source: BetaKitCanadian Tech Community

Comments

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  • Zia Waraich

    Good article. Proud Canadian

  • Cowpoke Sal

    Yo! Justin! Give the Belgians and the French a call; they’ve got some nice folks you might want to adopt…

    • Unorthodox

      Shh, don’t say that. They may take your words seriously as “a voice for true Canadian values”.

    • Cowpoke Sal

      Shh, don’t mention ‘values’; we’re not supposed to have those unless they conform with progressive, loony, green-left propaganda.

  • Pingback: Canadian tech community pens open letter in response to Trump executive order | Daily Update()

  • Arman

    Very proud of you guys..

  • Kasey C

    Send Justin and his “boys” to Syria, problem solved.

  • Ali F.

    The irony in Trump’s decision is that he has chosen the wrong countries. We all know that terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, UAE, Qatar, Pakistan, and all are allies to USA. Every single head chopper is graduated from Wahhabi Saudi schools. While Iraq, Iran, Syria are the victims here and they are the only nations that are really fighting terrorists and paying the heavy price for it. So Trump (and their Saudi/Qatari/UAE puppets) are sending weapons and “moderate” terrorists into Syria, and it is up to Lebanon, Turkey (which is not innocent either) and Jordan (and some EU countries) to receive the bulk of millions of refugees. You will not find a single Iranian that committed any terrorist attack against US or EU. As for the rest (Syria, Yemen, Sudan, …), if there is any, they are Wahhabi maniacs. Oil Oil Oil … it is all about oil.

  • Ali F.

    The irony in Trump’s decision is that he has chosen the wrong countries. We all know that terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, UAE, Qatar, Pakistan, and all are allies to USA. Every single head chopper is graduated from Wahhabi Saudi schools. While Iraq, Iran, Syria are the victims here and they are the only nations that are really fighting terrorists and paying the heavy price for it. So Trump (and their Saudi/Qatari/UAE puppets) are sending weapons and “moderate” terrorists into Syria, and it is up to Lebanon, Turkey (which is not innocent either) and Jordan (and some EU countries) to receive the bulk of millions of refugees. You will not find a single Iranian that committed any terrorist attack against US or EU. As for the rest (Syria, Yemen, Sudan, …), if there is any, they are Wahhabi maniacs.

    • Unorthodox

      Trump did not choose those countries. His order just reinforces the security on the list of countries who were already placed in enhanced security requirements list by Obama’s administration. But I am with you on Saudi Arabia and Qatar – that is where the head of the snake. Their first take on creating a Wahhabi state was in 90’s in Russian Chechnya. After being kicked out of there, they relocated to Yemen and Syria. That is what we know as ISIS these days.

    • Cowpoke Sal

      Yes; the list is clearly incomplete. However Trump is merely doing what he said he would do.

    • Cowpoke Sal

      Er…don’t forget heroin central; Afghanistan.

  • Cowpoke Sal

    All of these so-called ‘tech’ people display an arrogant contempt for all of those who voted for this man in democratic America. Perhaps they should all **** *** and cry somewhere else, n’est ce pas…?

  • Cowpoke Sal

    Bacon TV? That’s the kind of TV I want.