Edmonton

Alberta will do its part to help resettle Syrian refugees, Notley says

Premier Rachel Notley says Canada must continue with its plan to take Syrian refugees despite the deadly attacks in Paris and Beirut last week.
Alberta Premier Notley says decisions about Syrian refugees should not be driven by fear. (CBC )

Premier Rachel Notley says Canada must continue with its plan to take Syrian refugees despite the deadly attacks in Paris and Beirut last week.

"We need to do that carefully and cautiously but we need to definitely move forward," Notley said Monday. "We cannot have our decisions being driven by fear."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed to bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of 2015. Notley says Alberta will take between 2,500 to 3,000 but the final number is still being worked out.

Earlier Monday, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wrote a letter to Trudeau urging him to delay the plan until the government can ensure proper security and screening checks are in place.

"If even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating," Wall wrote.

Notley doesn't agree with that approach. She says refugees are fleeing the same terror that was behind the attacks last week and Canada needs to reach out.

"We need to keep the safety of Canadian and Alberta families in perspective, but we need to balance that very clearly against the fact that we are an open society and one that's going to reach people in need," she said.

Wildrose Leader Brian Jean called Trudeau's timeline "ambitious" but he stopped short of saying the prime minister should call off the plan.

Instead, he suggested the government should take its time in interviewing and processing refugees.

"We do so keeping in mind that our priority, as politicians across the great country, is to keep the people that live here, citizens of this country, safe and secure," he said.

In a statement to the legislature, Jean urged Canada not to "back down" in the fight against terrorism.

However, he told reporters that it was not his prerogative as an Alberta politician to call on the government to bomb targets.

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