During Canada’s recent election campaign, Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau pledged to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of 2015. This helped Trudeau’s Liberals come to power last month.
But with the Paris attacks, reality has set in. The Trudeau government is expected to formally announce its Syrian refugee plan later today, but details of the plan got leaked a couple of days ago. The plan will not reach the goal of 25,000 refugees and will be limited to women, children and families although additional reports indicate Canada will admit unaccompanied Syrian males if they are gay. This latter development is likely to intended to offset criticism from both the Conservatives and the NDP concerning the exclusion of gay males fleeing persecution. (It does lead me to wonder if ISIS members are willing to lie about being gay. One cannot discount the possibility).
However, the Conservatives have also criticized the proposal for confining the pool of Syrians to the refugee camps which have effectively excluded Christians. The former Tory government’s criteria for Syrian refugees included “the most vulnerable” which encompassed Christians as well as “ethnic and sexual minorities”.
While this new refugee plan warrants criticism, the fact that the Liberal government has made a point of tamping down expectations on the number of Syrian refugees and is being more selective about who they plan to admit into Canada indicates there is an attempt to mollify the concerns of Canadians with regard to security.
The same cannot be said of President Obama who dismisses such concerns outright. I wonder if Obama thinks Trudeau’s new refugee plan is a recruitment tool for ISIS.
UPDATE: The new plan calls for 10,000 Syrian refugees to be accepted into Canada by the end of the year with another 15,000 to be admitted by March 31, 2016. Given that the refugees must either be registered with the UN Refugee Agency or with the Turkish government, there will be few, if any, Syrian Christians among the 25,000.