On Thursday, The first large group of Syrian refugees coming to Canada by government aircraft arrived in Toronto. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the refugees at a temporary processing centre at Pearson International Airport. The PM was accompanied by the ministers of immigration, health and defence, as well as Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.
Trudeau greeted the first two families to come through processing and gave them winter coats. The first family was a couple with their baby girl and the other family was a man and his wife with their three daughters. Both families said they are happy to be in Canada.These families will become permanent residents of Canada with social insurance.
Trudeau said ,”This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share.”
He added, “How you will receive these people tonight will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives, but also I know something that you will remember for the rest of your lives”.
before the flight arrived, the prime minister thanked the staff and volunteers who participated in helping and welcoming the 163 refugees and said , “So I thank you deeply for being a part of this because this matters. Tonight matters, not just for Canada but for the world.”
All of the Syrians refugees on board are sponsored by private groups, many of them had filed the necessary paperwork months ago in order to bring in some of the estimated 4.3 million Syrians displaced by the ongoing civil war in that country. And More than 400 refugees have already arrived on commercial flights since the Liberals took office on Nov. 4.
This marks the first government aircraft carrying refugees as the government works to fulfil a pledge of bringing in 25,000 refugees by the end of February. Of the 163 people who arrived Thursday, 116 will head to new homes in the Toronto area. Another four will go to Windsor, Ont. Sponsors in Kelowna, B.C. will welcome four, three will go to Coquitlam, B.C. and one to New Westminster, B.C. Twenty are bound for Calgary, Alta., and the final 15 to Edmonton, according to statistics released by the Immigration department.
A second flight is set to arrive in Montreal on Saturday.
A handful of people gathered at the international arrivals gate at Pearson bearing signs and gifts.