Jim Estill has been a successful entrepreneur, innovator and investor building a number of successful businesses around Guelph, but the thing that made Estill a national figure had nothing to do with business. Through Estill’s generosity, hundreds of Syrian refugees have made a new home in Canada, and now he wants to do it again for 50 families fleeing the resurgent Tabliban in Afghanistan.
Flashback to 2015 for a moment. It was also the time of a Federal election, and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made a bold promise: If elected prime minister, he would welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada. One of those people prompted to act was Jim Estill who was watching the humanitarian situation half-a-world away and felt he could do something. He put up $1.5 million of his own money and pledged to sponsor 50 Syrian families.
Estill rallied aid organizations in Guelph including numerous churches, social service organizations, and businesses, and with their help nearly 500 Syrians were resettled in Guelph and area, and that, as they say, was that. Or it was until the Americans announced that they were pulling out of Afghanistan and a new refugee crisis was created in the wake of the Taliban retaking the country. Last week, Estill announced that he now wants to help bring 50 Afghan families to Canada.
This week on the podcast, Jim Estill joins us to talk about when he decided to help more refugees, what the process looks like, and how COVID-19 has changed things. He will also talk about his experiences with the new Canadian he’s sponsored, and what he thinks about people who push anti-immigrant sentiments. And finally, he will discuss his ethics as a businessman, how he feels about all the positive press he’s received, and what sort of help he’ll be looking for when people start arriving from Afghanistan.
So let’s talk about the refugee assisting business on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
NOTE: You can hear interviews with all of the Federal election candidates running in Guelph every Monday on the podcast version of Open Sources Guelph, and every Thursday at 5 pm on CFRU 93.3 fm or cfru.ca! For interviews with candidates from Wellington-Halton Hills, tune into special editions of the Wellington-Halton Hills Politicast here on Saturdays.
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