British Columbia

Justin Trudeau 'is a good person', says Tima Kurdi, aunt of drowned Syrian boy

Tima Kurdi, the aunt of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, says she wants to sit down and talk about the refugee crisis with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

CIC has asked Kurdi to resubmit her application

Tima Kurdi says she hopes to build a life with her two brothers in Canada. (CBC)

Tima Kurdi, the aunt of drowned Syrian boy Alan Kurdi, says she wants to sit down and talk about the refugee crisis with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"He is a good person," she told CBC News. "He is looking at refugees as human beings."

Photos of Alan Kurdi's body, lying face down on the beach, sparked global outrage about the Syrian crisis. In all, 12 people died when the boat the three-year-old and his family were aboard flipped while attempting to reach Greece.

Alan's mother and brother were among those who died. His father, Abdullah, survived, and remains in Syria.

Tima Kurdi had been hoping to bring the family, as well as the family of her other brother, Mohammed, to Canada, to live with her in Coquitlam, B.C. Financial issues — Kurdi must prove she can support each applicant on their arrival in Canada — meant she had only made an application for Mohammed's family at the time of the tragedy.

That application had been returned as incomplete.

Tima Kurdi recently returned from Europe, where she appealed for more help for refugees, and visited her family. Just before she left for Europe, Kurdi had been forced to defend Abdullah, after her brother was accused of being a people smuggler, allegations the family vigorously denied.

She told CBC News on Thursday that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIS) called and asked her to resubmit her refugee sponsorship application for Mohammed, his wife, and their five children (their fifth child has been born since the application process was initially started).

The updated papers were resubmitted last week, she said.

"There is no guarantee," she said, noting that applications can take anywhere from six months to two years.

"I'm hoping it's going to be fast with the new government."

She hasn't started an application for Abdullah, she says, because she thinks he should be given special dispensation.

"He is, right now, not himself anymore. Normal channels are going to take time. I could try but, I don't know. I don't have an answer right now. i think he should be offered citizenship."

She hopes both brothers will be able to come and live with her and build a life.

"With me a hairdresser, and them both barbers, I think we would make a good team."

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