Canada’s new progressive Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Twitter that Canada will receive the first group of 25,000 Syrian refugees on Thursday.
I’m pleased to announce the first plane carrying Syrian refugees arrives in Canada tomorrow at 9:15 pm ET. #WelcomeRefugees
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) December 9, 2015
“It will be a great day,” he declared to the House of Commons. “Resettling refugees demonstrates our commitment to Canadians and the world that Canada understands that we can and must do more.”
John McCallum, the immigration, refugee, and citizenship minister, assured citizens the refugees will wait in line just like everyone else. “We do have to be careful that the refugees not be seen to queue jump,” he explained. “I don’t think it would be popular among those who have been waiting too long if refugees come in and suddenly go to the front of the line.”
Canada’s population of 35 million is one-sixth of the United States’s population of 310 million. So Trudeau’s 25,000 migrants would be equivalent to 150,000 Syrians arriving in the United States.
After he won the election, Trudeau promised to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees before 2016. He aims to keep his campaign promises. “Canadians get it, that this is about doing the right thing, it is about living up to the values that we cherish as a country and it is also an extraordinary way to continue to grow our country,” he said.
“Canada must immediately accept 25,000 Syrian refugees, stop dragging its heels and understand that we must once again be the country that we like to think of ourselves as. This is something that goes beyond politics. It is about who we are and what we want to continue to be.”
However, a month later, the government decided to only take in 10,000 by the end of the year.
Due to security concerns, officials “will limit those accepted into Canada to women, children and families only.” McCallum said those men deserve to seek asylum in the country, but the process “takes a bit of time to put that all in place.”
“We’re happy to take a little more time that originally planned to bring our new friends into the country,” he stated.
The Canadian Department of Defense confirmed their workers would participate in screenings, including medical, overseas. On November 22, the CBC reported that Canadian officials screened “100 people a day in Lebanon.” However, they did not mention specific details about the screenings and tests.