I think most Canadians feel great sympathy for Syrian refugees, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s compassion for their plight does him credit. However, has he really thought about how best to help them?
Bear in mind that most of the refugees he is anxious to help by bringing them here are poor, with few skills and no — or very little — English or French. The educated and wealthy needed no financial help to relocate and have already left. Moreover, these refugees have lived in a hot climate all their lives and he is proposing to bring them to a cold country in the middle of winter.
The number he has decided — 25,000 — appears to be arbitrary, designed perhaps to make the world aware of what a compassionate country Canada is. There has been no debate or discussion as is appropriate in a democracy. Canada has a problem with homelessness already; if we are unable to provide enough homes for our own citizens, how does he propose to find adequate shelter for 25,000 more people?
Even with rigorous scrutiny, extremists manage to mix with genuine refugees; the most recent example resulting in the tragic violence in Paris. The time frame he has announced, to bring so many here by the end of the year, is not long enough for even the most superficial screening, making it virtually certain violent extremists will be in Canada by 2016.
Trudeau has a difficult choice. He either faces the accusation that he reneges on campaign promises, or he insists on putting the lives of Canadians in jeopardy.