At a time of so much antagonism and hostility, Canada has welcomed its first 163 refugees fleeing the civil war in Syria.
The country may be several thousand miles more away from the conflict zone but it is showing up Prime Minister, David Cameron’s miserly pledge to allow 20,000 fleeing Syrians to settle in the UK by 2020, by accepting 25,000 by the end of next February. It also stands in stark contrast to its US neighbours, who plan to take in just 10,000 over the next year.
The refugees arriving in Toronto this month were personally greeted by Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. “This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” he said.
Canada has long prided itself on opening its doors to asylum-seekers.
In times of crisis, the former British colony airlifted more than 5,000 people from Kosovo in the late 1990s, more than 5,000 from Uganda in 1972 and 60,000 Vietnamese in 1979-80. More than 1.2 million refugees have arrived in Canada since World War II.