Justin Trudeau's Christmas message urges warm welcome to Syrian refugees
'We share values of love, hope and compassion — it's what we do, and it's who we are,' PM says
Justin Trudeau's first Christmas message as prime minister encourages Canadians to show a warm welcome to Syrian refugees arriving in the country for their first Canadian winter.
"After all, we share values of love, hope and compassion — it's what we do, and it's who we are," Trudeau said in the recorded video message.
Hundreds of refugees have arrived in Canada since late November. The federal government has pledged to bring in a total of 10,000 refugees by the end of the year, and 25,000 by the end of February.
Trudeau also paid tribute to members of the Canadian Armed Forces who cannot be with their families during the holidays, thanking them for their sacrifice.
Watch Trudeau's full message in the player above.
And here is the full text of a Christmas statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday:
"Around the world and across Canada, Christians gather on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This is a time when families, friends, and colleagues come together to celebrate the spirit of the season.
"Christmas is an opportunity for giving as well as receiving. Whether it is volunteering time at a local food bank, buying gifts for children in need, or opening doors to someone who may be celebrating alone, the true spirit of Christmas is about connecting with our neighbours and our community.
"This year, Canadians are welcoming thousands of Syrian refugees to our country — people who have been forced to flee their homeland due to war and conflict. I encourage all Canadians to show them a warm holiday welcome in keeping with our values of compassion, kindness, and generosity.
"From our family to yours, Sophie and I wish you all a most joyous holiday season and a merry Christmas."