Canada provinces balk at Trudeau's Syrian refugee goal

November 16, 2015 22:11
1 minute read.


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WINNIPEG, Manitoba/MONTREAL - A plan by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year appeared in jeopardy on Monday after one province urged him to scrap it because of security concerns and another said the timetable was impossible.

The immigration minister in the mostly French-speaking province of Quebec, Kathleen Weil, said she does not believe Trudeau's goal is realistic.

"I'm going to be frank," Weil told reporters. "I don't think it is possible by the end of the year."

Separately, the premier of the province of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, urged Trudeau to re-evaluate the goal in light of Friday's attacks in Paris and the chance of admitting operatives trained by Islamic State.

"If even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating," Wall said in a letter to the prime minister.

Wall's objection and Weil's skepticism about the timetable add growing pressure on Trudeau to adjust his election campaign promise. Trudeau reiterated on Sunday that Canada will admit 25,000 Syrian refugees before Jan. 1.

Trudeau's Liberals won a majority in Parliament in October, unseating the nine-year-old government of Conservative Stephen Harper, who had emphasized national security and wanted to accept fewer refugees at a slower pace.

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