Chris Alexander defends Canada's refugee response, blames media
Immigration minister says media has overlooked crisis
Amid what has been called the worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, the immigration minister says Canada has taken in "approximately 2,500" Syrian refugees to date.
"The numbers grow quickly through private sponsorship and government assistance. We also have brought over 20,000 Iraqi refugees," Chris Alexander said.
The plight of Syrian refugees was brought into the spotlight today after a picture of a drowned child circulated on social media. The boy was found lying face down on a Turkish beach. It is believed he was three years old. Turkish media are reporting his mother and older brother also died trying to reach Europe.
More than four million refugees have fled Syria since the crisis began in 2011. There are also more than seven million internally displaced people within Syria.
Ontario NDP candidate Paul Dewar told CBC's Power & Politics host Rosemary Barton that the Conservative government's policies have been a catastrophe.
Migrants from Syria queue for a bus in a village near Presevo, Serbia last week. The issue of what Canada should do to help alleviate the crisis of refugees and other desperate migrants in Europe was raised on the campaign trail in Canada Wednesday. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)
"They had to be dragged kicking and screaming to actually admit 1,300 refugees," he said. "They couldn't tell us for a full year … how many refugees had come. At the same time Germany, Sweden, other countries were taking in tens of thousands."
Former Liberal cabinet minister John McCallum called the Conservative response to the Syrian refugee crisis a "total disgrace," and made the comparison with Progressive Conservative leaders Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney who McCallum said were part of a tradition of Canadian generosity to refugees.