The House

Putting the Syrian refugees plan under the microscope

On The House mid-week podcast, Chris Hall puts the Liberal Syrian refugees plan under the microscope with James Milner, a former consultant with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and PEI Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown.
Health Minister Jane Philpott, (left to right) Immigration Minister John McCallum, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, and Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly announce Canada’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, during a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Can you call it an evidence-based broken promise?

The Liberal government says Canada will complete the resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees two months later than anticipated, conceding that such a massive program could not be carried out with 37 days left until the end of the year.

"I have heard Canadians across this country saying, 'Yes, you have to do it right, and if takes a little longer to do it right, then take the extra time,'" Immigration Minister John McCallum said Tuesday when announcing the details of the government's refugee plan. 

The government will identify all 25,000 refugees by its self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 2015, but only 10,000 will arrive by year's end. The rest will arrive by March 2016.

"They will include a mix of privately sponsored and government assisted refugees," said Health Minister Jane Philpott.

"The remaining 15,000 — mostly government-assisted refugees — it is our goal that they be resettled in Canada in January and February of 2016."

The Official Opposition welcomed the extended timeline, but still has plenty of questions.

Immigration critic Michelle Rempel said the Conservatives would push the government for answers on a number of issues including "plans for caring for the refugees upon arrival and, specifically, the real costs of the plan, impacts on provincial governments, and the involvement of the Canadian Armed Forces."

McCallum says Liberals didn't break promise on refugees

6 years ago
Immigration Minister John McCallum says the Liberals didn't break their campaign promise to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees, but Conservative Immigration Critic Michelle Rempel disagrees. 1:23

On The House mid-week podcast, Chris Hall puts the Liberal Syrian refugees plan under the microscope with James Milner, former consultant with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and PEI Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown.

Milner welcomes the shift in numbers as a "very responsible and very reasonable decision."

"It would have been very difficult to undertake the commitment without cutting corners," he added.

Brown agrees, providing an on-the-ground account of what the resettlement process will look like in Prince Edward Island, which has brought in 850 refugees to the province since 2001 and plans to bring in a total of 250 Syrian refugees over the next few months.

"We've punched above our weight, and we've seen phenomenal benefits from these new Canadians," Brown said. 

"They've made our communities much richer. Our diversity is our strength," he said.