Immigration Minister vague on number of Syrian refugees in Canada
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander answers a question during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 11, 2014. (Adrian Wyld / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, June 12, 2014 3:48PM EDT
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Chris Alexander is refusing to give a firm answer on the number of Syrian refugees Ottawa had promised to resettle in Canada who are actually in the country.
Canada had committed to accept 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014. About 1,100 spots have been allocated to the private sponsorship of refugees, and 200 spots have been sponsored by the federal government. But critics say Ottawa is far from meeting that goal.
Alexander was hammered by opposition MPs during question period on Thursday about the number of Syrian refugees who have actually made it to Canada. This came a day after Alexander hung up during a radio interview, when asked the same questions. He later explained he was rushing to question period.
On Thursday, he gave similar answers.
"There are 1,150 Syrian refugees in Canada," he said in the House of Commons. "And we have approved more than 200 government-assisted refugees to come to Canada."
Alexander insisted that Canada is at the "forefront of the effort to resettle Syrians," but he would not say how many of the 200 government-sponsored have made it to Canada
Late last month, the Syrian Canadian Council insisted none of the 1,300 refugees are in Canada yet.
Meanwhile, the United Nations has asked Canada to accept more Syrians who have displaced by the brutal civil war.
With files from The Canadian Press