Syrian Refugees Given Warm Welcome in Canada

Tea Smith, Staff Reporter

On Thursday, December 10, 2015, the first of several scheduled flights carrying Syrian refugees arrived in Toronto, Canada just before midnight from Jordan.  A warm welcome was extended to the 163 refugees from Canadian citizens.  Canadian Prime minister Justin Trudeau, who says his government is looking to resettle at least 25,000 Syrian refugees by February of next year, was also there to greet them when they arrived.

The ministers of immigration, health and defense, local mayors–and some  immigration critics–joined Trudeau and Kathleen Wynne as they welcomed the first two families to arrive. Although there was less attention given to the rest of the families, they were all welcomed by the staff of Toronto Pearson International and given winter coats, gloves, and boots before going to a hotel to get some rest.

On the Friday that followed, the housing arrangements were made for the refugees. 116 would be staying in Toronto and the rest would be housed in various parts of Canada.

According to the Associated Press wire report, moments before the flight arrived that night, Trudeau told the staff that was assembled that those arriving would step off the plane as refugees and walk out of the terminal as a permanent resident of Canada with social insurance numbers, health cards, and the opportunity to become full Canadian citizens.

Meanwhile in America, several state governors have issued orders denying Syrian refugees the right to be resettled in their states, even though the US State Department has committed to accepting 10,000 of them.

According CTV News, Trudeau said, “This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but a set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share.”

A second flight was scheduled to arrive on December 12 in Montreal.

Many local people on this side of the border think the refugees going to Canada is something that will not only benefit the refugees themselves but also the economy of Canada.

Local resident Keisha Burchell said, “I think that it is an excellent way for Canada to build a strong relationship with Syria.”