Quebec politicians stress diversity, inclusion in face of Trump refugee ban

Quebec political leaders are denouncing President Donald Trump's executive order that put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Couillard joins Montreal mayor and PQ leader denouncing ban

Protesters gathered Saturday at San Francisco International Airport to denounce President Donald Trump's executive order. The ban has been widely condemned in Quebec. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/The Associated Press)

Several Quebec political leaders are denouncing President Donald Trump's executive order that put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travellers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Premier Philippe Couillard joined several of his provincial counter-parts who have made statements affirming the values of tolerance and diversity since the order went into effect.

"Regardless of our origins, skin colour, beliefs or who we love, Quebec will always be a welcoming place," he tweeted in French Sunday afternoon.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre also took to social media to stress the importance of inclusion and tolerance following the ban, which has stranded people around the world and led to widespread condemnation.

"Montreal is a land of welcome that is defined by its diversity and solidarity. Proud to welcome citizens of the world," Coderre, a former federal immigration minister for the Liberals, wrote on Twitter using the hashtag MuslimBan. 

PQ, Drainville join with Trudeau

Coderre said he supports the position of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who used social media to reiterate his government's policy on refugees.

"To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength," Trudeau wrote.

In an indication of just how unpopular the ban is in Canada, and Quebec, it drew condemnation from politicians who have expressed concerns about immigration and multiculturalism in the past. 

Parti Québécois Leader Jean-François Lisée, who has questioned the province's immigration levels and proposed a ban on religious symbols for public employees, called the ban "odious."

Even Bernard Drainville, architect of the PQ's failed secular charter, said he was "proud" of Trudeau's stance. He repeated his tweet in English, no less.

The leader of the centre-right Coalition Avenir Québec, François Legault, appeared more mitigated in his criticism of Trump's executive order. 

"Trump's order is, with reason, worrying the international community," Legault tweeted in French. "Be vigilant. Avoid shortcuts. Denounce extremism." 

The executive order, announced just one week after Trump was sworn in, halts the processing of all Syrian refugees and barred entry for at least 90 days of anyone travelling from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. 

The suspension is intended to provide time to review how refugees are vetted before they are allowed to resettle in the United States.

In an apparent about-face Saturday night, U.S. national security adviser Michael Flynn said Canadian passport-holders — including dual citizens — would not be affected by the ban.

"We have been assured that Canadian citizens travelling on Canadian passport will be dealt with in the usual process," the Prime Minister's Office told CBC News, saying clarification was sought from Flynn.


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