Ottawa: Canada will accept only whole families, lone women or children in its mass resettlement of Syrian refugees while unaccompanied men — considered a security risk — will be turned away.
Since the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists, a plan by new leader Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to fast-track the intake of 25,000 refugees by year’s end has faced growing criticism in Canada.
Details of the plan will be announced today but Canada’s ambassador to Jordan confirmed that refugees from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey will be flown to Canada from Jordan starting December 1.
Speaking in Jordan yesterday, the ambassador Bruno Saccomani said the operation would cost an estimated CAD 1.2 billion, the official Petra news agency reported.
According to Canadian public broadcaster CBC, the resettlement plan will not extend to unaccompanied men.
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard seemed to corroborate that report ahead of a meeting with Trudeau and Canada’s provincial leaders where the refugee plan was high on the agenda.
“All these refugees are vulnerable but some are more vulnerable than others, for example, women, families and also members of religious minorities who are oppressed,” he said, although he rejected the notion of “exclusion” of single men.
Faisal Alazem of the Syrian Canadian Council, a non-profit group in talks with the government to sponsor refugees, told Radio-Canada of the plans: “It’s a compromise.”
“This is not the ideal scenario to protect vulnerable people — women and children and men too. But I think what happened in Paris has really changed the dynamic and public opinion,” he said.
Trudeau broadly outlined his intention to take in the Syrian refugees during the campaign that swept his Liberals into office last month, and has mobilized several government ministries to get the job done since being sworn in three weeks ago.
But the Paris attacks that killed 130, claimed by the Islamic States group, stirred fears in both Europe and North America that jihadists could seek to blend in with refugee masses in order to strike later.