Saskatchewan Opposition NDP MLA Aleana Young says the provincial and federal governments should work together so that Saskatchewan can accept more Afghan refugees.
"I don't know why in a province whose motto is 'From Many Peoples Strength,' why we would gatekeep," she said.
Canada has committed to resettling 20,000 Afghans who are threatened by the Taliban, which is taking control of Afghanistan.
Young was speaking at a news conference at the legislative building on Friday last week. She said that there is a lot of opportunity and space within the province.
"Saskatchewan has about three per cent of Canada's population, but I see no reason why we can't see six per cent of these people — about 1,200 Afghans — resettled here," she said.
The provincial government said in an emailed statement that the number of refugees coming ti the province is determined by the federal government. No Afghan refugees have arrived in Saskatchewan yet, but the statement said the first are expected later this week. The province said the situation remains fluid and the exact number of refugees arriving has not been confirmed yet.
Many Afghans in Saskatchewan are worried about their family members back home.
Zohra Bahrami, a student and researcher at the University of Regina, also spoke at Friday's news conference. She said her parents and two brothers are hiding in Afghanistan. Their communications are short and revolve around safety.
"We can't just sit around and wait for things to get better," she said.
Bahrami asked the government to give the Afghan community some kind of update, so they could pass it on to their family members to give them some hope.
She said it's hard to sleep at night knowing that her family could die at any moment.
"It's so frustrating I can't even find the words to describe what I'm feeling right now," she said.
Young also said said the government should do more to help families reunite and ensure Afghan refugees arriving in the province have the support and resources they need.
She said organizations like the Regina Open Door Society should be better funded and supported.
"The provincial and federal governments need to do the work now, to ensure that when we have more Afghans being settled in Saskatchewan, they are set up to succeed," she said.