Canadian PM Says, if Reelected, Will Take in 10,000 Syrian Refugees

Stephen Harper

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced this week that the country can take at least 10,000 Syrian refugees if his Conservative government is reelected in October.

“The scale of the humanitarian crisis in Iraq and Syria cannot be solved, cannot even come close to being solved, by refugee policy alone,” he declared. “We must stop ISIS [Islamic State]. We can accept thousands or tens of thousands, and maybe all the countries in the world together, hundreds of thousands of refugees, but ISIS left to its own devices will create millions, tens of millions, of refugees and victims on a monthly basis.”

Over three million people left Iraq and Syria in the past year after ISIS barreled through to establish their caliphate. Most people stay in nearby countries, but some risk the stormy Mediterranean Sea on cramped boats to start a new life in Europe. In late July, Greece’s government, already struggling with a financial crisis, asserted the country cannot hold more refugees. The country “received 408% more migrants in the first six months of 2015 than it did in the same time frame in 2014.” Over 12,000 refugees in Denmark are still searching for a place to stay. Italy is constantly demanding other European countries take some of the thousands of people they rescue in the sea.

Harper also wants Canadian citizens to face criminal charges if they travel to places besieged by radical Islamic groups.

“A re-elected Conservative government will designate travel to places that are ground zero for terrorist activity a criminal offence,” he said. “We are talking about the most dangerous places on earth, where governance is nonexistent and violence is widespread and brutal.”

Australia banned all travel to Syria Raqqa province, which is ISIS’s capital of their caliphate.

“Under the provisions of our foreign fighters legislation, I have today declared al-Raqqa province an area where a listed terrorist organisation is engaging in hostile activity,” said Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. “This now makes it an offence under Australian law to enter or remain in the province of al-Raqqa without a legitimate reason. Anyone who enters or remains faces a penalty of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.”

Over 75 passports were cancelled and ten people were refused passports under the new law passed in September. Anyone who breaks the law, “including family visits, journalism or aid work,” could receive a sentence of 10 years in prison. The law allows spies to monitor the Australian internet for anyone who passes out confidential “information … [that] relates to a special operation.” These people can also receive 10 years in prison.