Justin Trudeau calls for leaders’ meeting to address Syrian refugee topic
Liberal leader marks a wider pivot toward a collaborative approach on emotional and divisive issue
By Trinh Theresa Do, CBC News Posted: Sep 06, 2015 6:02 PM ET Last Updated: Sep 07, 2015 1:29 AM ET
The sudden renewed focus on the Syrian refugee crisis is a sharp turn away from what has been the election campaign’s steady march on the economy — and the parties’ responses have been wide-ranging.
After the tragic image of Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body on the sand emerged on Wednesday and struck the hearts of people worldwide, Canada’s federal leaders and their parties have taken turns to address each other’s (and the media’s) failings on refugee action, simultaneously accusing their opponents of playing politics with a tragedy while turning the tragedy into a political issue themselves.
Public mourning and outrage have also prompted the candidates to one-up each other on possible resettlements.
The Conservatives have committed, during the campaign, to resettling an additional 10,000 refugees over the next few years (on top of a January commitment to resettle 10,000 people). The NDP would resettle 10,000 refugees by the end of this year, and then 9,000 government-sponsored refugees each year for the next four years. The Liberals would accept 25,000 by Jan. 1, 2016.
And yet, perhaps realizing the ineffectiveness of barb-throwing and political jabs over such an emotional issue, the parties have pivoted to a more collaborative approach, making pleas to put to rest partisan-style fighting in order to work together to accept refugees.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau on Sunday was only the latest to strike a note against partisanship.
During a television interview with CTV News, he called for a meeting of party leaders to craft an improved Canadian response to the crisis.
Later, at a festival in Laval, Que., Trudeau reiterated his request, saying that the Liberals “are in the process of sending out invitations.”