Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada will produce economic and social benefits
Prime minister is in London where he met the Queen. He moves on to Malta for Commonwealth leaders’ summit, then France for UN climate conference.
LONDON—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attempted to make a virtue of the hottest domestic issue on his plate Wednesday, using the international stage to pitch the Liberal government’s Syrian refugee settlement plan as a shining global example.
“We have a responsibility, to ourselves and to the world, to show that inclusive diversity is a strength and a force that can vanquish intolerance, radicalism and hate,” Trudeau said in a speech to a well-heeled crowd at Canada House in central London.
Trudeau’s politically charged appeal plumbed many of the themes of the October election that vaulted his Liberals to power and it came a day after his government revealed a revised timeline for accepting some 25,000 refugees fleeing civil war and Islamic terrorism in Syria.
Rather than rush in all 25,000 by year end, as the Liberals promised during the election, the new plan calls for refugees to be identified and brought to Canada over the next three months.
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Trudeau said the terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago raised public fears, but he insisted security was “always at the heart” of the government’s thoughts as it put together the settlement program.
Not only is security a primary government responsibility, said Trudeau, “we were aware that people were going to raise security as a reason not to welcome refugees at all.