Syrian refugees welcome in New Brunswick, says minister
Francine Landry says she has heard from many in New Brunswick who want the province to provide support
New Brunswick is ready to welcome Syrian refugees, says the province's minister responsible for immigration.
Immigration minister wrote to the federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to express the province's interest in providing a home to refugees.
Landry said following the humanitarian crisis, she felt it was the right thing to do.
"Following the picture of the little boy, we thought we could re-iterate to the federal government that we would be more than willing to welcome more refugees to New Brunswick," Landry said.
Landry says she has heard from many New Brunswickers who want the province to provide its support to people escaping the war-torn country.
"I heard from a lot of people after we announced our help to the United Nations of $50,000. We heard a lot of people said well this is the right thing to do," she said.
"We're a welcoming province and we're known for that and we have welcomed refugees in the past ... I think there are a lot of people that would be very happy to welcome Syrians and people from the Middle East."
Active in immigration
In the letter to the federal government, Landry indicated not only the province's willingness to help but also outlined what it can bring to the table.
"As you know, New Brunswick is very active in immigration and settlement and I believe we have the services and supports necessary to welcome and integrate these individuals into our communities," Landry wrote.
Landry said opening its doors to refugees is also in line with the province's focus on population growth.
"Because the death rate is higher than the birth rate, immigration is one of the only ways we can increase our population. And refugees are part of the immigration strategy for the government."
The New Brunswick government announced on Friday that it would be sending $50,000 to the United Nations to help Syrian refugees.
It joins other provinces, such as Ontario, Manitoba and Nova Scotia, that have also sent funds to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to support the Syrian refugee relief effort.