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Federal government includes Quebec immigration numbers on Syrian refugees

Thursday, 11 December 2014

OTTAWA – The number of Syrian refugees brought to Canada in the past 18 months isn’t as abysmal as it could be – but that’s thanks largely to Quebec, which has its own immigration system.

After weeks of questions, on Wednesday Immigration Minister Chris Alexander gave a figure for Canada’s resettled Syrian refugees far higher than that his department cited just last week.

Last year Canada promised to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of this year, but only 200 government-sponsored refugees, leaving the remaining 1100 up for private sponsorship.

Last week immigration department figures indicated only 457 Syrian refugees had arrived in Canada since July, 2013; 294 sponsored by the federal government and 163 by private groups.

Yet a statement from Alexander’s office Thursday stated that, “since the start of the Syrian crisis in 2011, Canada has provided protection to more than 1,900 Syrian refugees through both our asylum and resettlement programs. Since mid-2013, we have approved more than 1,150 Syrian refugees to come to Canada permanently. And we will do more.”

The Canadian Council for Refugees said including Quebec’s figures is a misleading inflation of Canada’s contribution to a massive global refugee crisis.

As to when Canada will meet its own target of 1300 Syrian refugees originally set for the end of this year, the latest statement from Alexander’s office says the government “will be meeting that target as soon as possible.”

 

Global News

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