January 3, 2016 12:01 pm

Governor General praises Canada’s response to Syrian refugee crisis

WATCH: Governor General David Johnston tells Tom Clark businesses have stepped up to the plate, providing funds to help resettle Syrian refugees.


Governor General David Johnston said Canada’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis has been overwhelmingly positive, calling it an example of the power of widespread collaboration.

Various stakeholders – from governments and religious organizations to large corporations and even individuals – have come together to help get 25,000 Syrians into Canada by the end of February, Johnston told The West Block’s Tom Clark, likening the process to an age-old tradition in agricultural communities.

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“It’s barn raising at its best, where people with different skills, different materials come together and raise their neighbour’s barn,” the Governor General said.

According to Johnston, who recently gained new next-door neighbours as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his family moved into Rideau Cottage, the outpouring of support has been especially heartening in the wake of the tragic images Canadian have witnessed in recent months as refugees flee conflict in the Middle East.

“For me, it was a contrast of seeing the image of the little boy (Alan Kurdi) who was drowned trying to escape an extremely tortuous situation, difficult situation, and here’s Canada welcoming people who come from very, very difficult circumstances.”

Has Canada’s game become too violent?

Johnston was also asked about his call for a reform of how hockey is begin played at the professional and amateur levels. He has been an outspoken opponent of hard plastic equipment and headshots in particular.

“I worry about the concussions and the injuries that come from playing the game viciously,” he said.

“The athletic contests that I’ve most enjoyed in the last 25 years have been the Canadian and American women’s hockey teams because they play the game without the viciousness in it … I think that’s what I want my grandchildren, not only to play, but to see – because that’s Canada. We compete. And we compete really energetically and passionately, but it’s always within the rules, and never with the belief to injure the other play is somehow a good thing.”

WATCH: Tom Clark’s full, extended interview with Governor General David Johnston

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