Federal immigration minister apologizes to Sask. over refugee remark
Federal minister 'misspoke' about Saskatchewan situation, province says
The federal minister responsible for refugees spoke in error Wednesday about the situation in Saskatchewan where provincial officials say things are going smoothly.
In Toronto on Wednesday morning the federal immigration minister addressed questions about how some communities, including Toronto and Halifax, were asking for a temporary delay on the arrival of new refugees.
John McCallum noted there were parts of the country that were "crying out for more refugees."
"New Brunswick, Quebec, Saskatchewan — those are places that really can use the refugees," McCallum said.
His statement, however, caught Saskatchewan's minister responsible for immigration a bit off guard.
Jeremy Harrison said he spoke with McCallum a few hours later, to clear things up.
"I was a bit surprised," Harrison said, of McCallum's earlier remark. "But ... he apologized for having misspoke with regard to that particular matter."
In Saskatchewan, Harrison said agencies that support newcomers are stretched, but plans for more refugee arrivals remain in place.
"We're working flat out on this and we're kind of ahead of the curve in terms of our resettlement," he said. "We're going to do what we can and make sure that those who arrive are set up for success."
He said about 500 Syrian refugees have arrived since December and another 350 are expected by the end of February.
"We are ahead of other provinces, significantly ahead of other provinces, in terms of our resettlement of newcomers out of our proportion," Harrison said, "And we're proud of that."
So far, Regina has settled 253 refugees and people from the Regina Open Door Society said they can accept more than what was committed, adding they look forward to welcoming those on the way.