Trudeau says Canada should accept more Syrian refugees

Justin Trudeau
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on June 12, 2013. Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

HALIFAX – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Canada should be doing more to admit refugees from the bloody conflict in Syria.

Trudeau said Friday he was pleased to hear the Conservative government is not contemplating military intervention following an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian regime that the United States says killed at least 1,400 people.

Read more: Reaction to John Kerry’s comments on Syria chemical weapons attack

The death toll since the conflict began has topped 100,000 and the United Nations says more than six million Syrians have had to flee their homes.

“I’ve very worried about the Syrian people,” he said before meeting people at a park in downtown Halifax.

Read more: As Syrians escape to Lebanon, Canada holds off on taking refugees

“We also do want to see our government providing humanitarian support, diplomatic pressure to resolve this situation and I know we can do more around refugees in terms of bringing some of the many thousand of displaced people to Canada for a better life.”

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In June, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Canada would give Jordan an additional $98.4 million to help the Arab country cope with more than half a million Syrian refugees.

At the time, Baird said the aid would be dispersed over the next three years to enhance security at Jordan’s sprawling refugee camps and help keep “terrorists at bay.” It was also intended to help protect Jordanians against chemical and biological weapons attacks.

Yaman Marwah, president for the Syrian Association of Ottawa, said his group was told earlier this year that the Canadian government was prepared to admit 1,500 Syrian refugees to Canada.

“We have connections all over Canada and we didn’t see anything so far,” he said in an interview from Ottawa.

“We haven’t seen anything aside from closing the Syrian embassy and getting the ambassador out since the beginning of the revolution.”

Earlier this week, Trudeau said Parliament should be recalled to discuss what role Canada should play as the international community prepared to respond on Syria.

For our ongoing coverage of the conflict in Syria, click here


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