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Premier wants Canada PM to halt resettling 25,000 refugees

/ 06:58 AM November 17, 2015
People attend a vigil outside the French consulate in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered "all of Canada's support" to France on Friday night in the wake of "deeply worrying" terrorist attacks in Paris. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

People attend a vigil outside the French consulate in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered “all of Canada’s support” to France on Friday night in the wake of “deeply worrying” terrorist attacks in Paris. AP

TORONTO — A Canadian provincial leader called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend his plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year, citing security concerns in the wake of the Paris attacks. But Canada’s health minister signaled Monday the Liberal government remains committed to the goal.

Trudeau, who was elected last month, campaigned on a plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by Jan. 1.

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Brad Wall, the Conservative premier of Saskatchewan province, sent a letter to Trudeau on Monday saying the current “date-driven” plan should be scrapped. Wall argued that a rushed refugee resettlement could have devastating results and said there needs to be appropriate screening and security checks.

“Let’s take as many as we can but let’s do it in a safe way,” Wall said. “We’re driving toward a date, 45 days from now, 25,000 refugees and I don’t think it should be driven by a dateline and a quota.”

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Trudeau, who was in Turkey on Monday for the Group of 20 summit, has given no indication that he will alter his refugee plan. His health minister, Jane Philpott, said the government is being mindful of health and security concerns while working to address the urgent refugee crisis.

“So while Paris is a tragic situation … we have always known there are risks involved in this but we have always said we will be responsible and we will be address those risks in a responsible way,” Philpott said.

Several U.S. governors are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states in the aftermath of the attacks, responding to heightened concerns that terrorists might use the refugees as cover to sneak across borders.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, speaking last week before the Paris attacks, indicated that security screenings for Syrian refugees could take place both overseas and on Canadian soil.

The government also has to determine where it will conduct health screenings; Philpott would not provide specifics Monday. TVJ

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TAGS: Canada, Justin Trudeau, paris attacks, Syrian refugees
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