Trudeau Presses Ahead With Target of Resettling 25,000 Refugees

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada is sticking by its plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year, shrugging off calls for a rethink after deadly terror attacks last week in Paris.

Some Canadian political leaders say the timeline is unrealistic and could compromise security screening. Trudeau brushed aside the questions when speaking to reporters ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, saying his government will provide details of the plan “in the coming days.”

“I have said from the very beginning that security has always been at the very core of what we’re planning to do on refugees,” Trudeau told reporters aboard his plane Tuesday while traveling to Manila.

Syria-based Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 129, raising fears that rush in refugee intake could put security at risk. Canada was offered support by the U.S., Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in achieving its target, Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion told reporters Tuesday in Manila. “Everything we have heard is that our initiative is welcome, and everybody wants to cooperate with us,” Dion said.

In a Nov. 16 letter to Trudeau, Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall said the “date-driven plan could severely undermine the refugee screening process.” He called on the Liberals to suspend the resettlement efforts and provide premiers with a full security briefing when they meet with the prime minister in Ottawa on Nov. 23.

Trudeau’s government took power on Nov. 4 and has said it is considering all options, from commercial airlines to ships, to get the 25,000 refugees into Canada.

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