TORONTO – The latest government-organized flight carrying Syrian refugees to Canada has landed in Toronto, with Gov. Gen. David Johnston on hand to greet the newcomers.
The chartered plane from Beirut, carrying about 214 refugees, is the fourth flight organized by Ottawa as part of its plan to bring 10,000 Syrian refugees to the country by the end of the year.
Saying “Marhaba,” the Arabic word for “welcome,” Johnston, his wife, his daughter and his four grandchildren greeted three refugee families who came through a children’s play area set up in the airport terminal being used to process the refugees.
One man, Mohammed Al-Mubaied, asked for permission to kiss Johnston, and when he agreed, he gave him a kiss on the cheek.
The man, saying “hello” repeatedly in English, said through a translator that it was an honour to be welcomed by the Governor General.
The latest flight means nearly 1,500 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada since the Liberal government took office.
The Liberals have promised to bring a total of 25,000 refugees to the country by the end of February.
Immigration Minister John McCallum inspected the other end of the refugee pipeline Friday, making a visit to a processing centre in Lebanon.
Earlier this year he joined two other cabinet colleagues on a similar trip to Jordan.
McCallum also met with Lebanon’s Interior Minister Friday.