Toronto

Chris Alexander's campaign office re-opens despite 'suspended' campaign

Chris Alexander’s campaign office re-opened early Thursday afternoon, hours after the Conservative candidate announced that he is suspending his re-election campaign to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Alexander announced he halted campaign to return to Ottawa to address Syrian refugee crisis

Conservative candidate Chris Alexander's campaign office was dark Thursday morning, but re-opened later in the day. (Trevor Dunn/CBC )

Chris Alexander's campaign office re-opened early Thursday afternoon, hours after the Conservative candidate announced that he is "suspending" his re-election campaign to deal with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Two staffers arrived at Alexander's campaign office in Ajax, Ont., shortly after noon. The office had remained dark with a "closed" sign on the door throughout the morning.

Alexander, who represents the riding of Ajax–Pickering, announced he "suspended" his campaign a day after he sparred with Rosemary Barton, host of CBC's Power & Politics, over Canada's response to the Syrian refugee crisis.

Hours after the contentious interview aired on Wednesday, a newspaper report revealed that the family of the Syrian boy whose body washed ashore in Turkey had been trying to come to Canada as refugees, but had been rejected.

A photograph of the boy's body on the beach sparked international outrage about the growing crisis of Syrian refugees taking desperate measures to get to Europe and elsewhere.

Relatives of the child, Alan Kurdi, in British Columbia said Wednesday that they had been working to get the family to Canada and had enlisted the help of their local New Democrat MP, Fin Donnelly. Donnelly said Wednesday that he brought the case to Alexander's attention this year before the file was ultimately rejected.

In a statement issued early Thursday, Alexander said "the tragic photo of young Alan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world."

"I am meeting with officials to ascertain both the facts of the case of the Kurdi family and to receive an update on the migrant crisis."

Alexander arrived back in Ottawa on Thursday morning. A former diplomat, Alexander was first elected in 2011 and became minister of immigration in 2013.

The federal election is Oct. 19.

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