First flight of Syrian refugees expected to arrive in Toronto tonight

OTTAWA -- They escaped a civil war that has left millions displaced and hundreds of thousands dead, their homes in some cases bombed to pieces, along with their livelihoods and future hopes.

See Full Article

They fled to Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon -- living in refugee camps, shantytowns and private apartments, trying to figure out their next steps, watching as what they thought would just be a temporary move away from their home country began to look more permanent.

This week, hundreds of Syrians will be on the move again, this time to Canada with the first mass arrival of refugees as part of the Liberal government's commitment to Syrian refugee resettlement.

The first flight is set to arrive Thursday night in Toronto, to be followed by one Saturday in Montreal, together bringing an estimated 300 people with a chance to make a home in Canada thanks to private sponsors who've been working for months to prepare for them.

But those sponsors will still have to wait a little while longer to meet them.

Border agents, health officials and immigration officers will be on hand when the plane touches down to run the new arrivals through a battery of tests. They will spend the night in hotels before moving on to their new homes.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to be on hand, and he has invited opposition leaders to be there too.

"It will be a great day," Trudeau said Wednesday in the House of Commons.

Montreal and Toronto will be home to dozens of such flights in the coming weeks as the government seeks to bring 10,000 Syrians to Canada by year's end, and then a further 15,000 by the end of February.

While Syrian refugees have been arriving with some regularity since the Liberals were sworn into office on Nov. 4, they've arrived on commercial flights. Today sees the first government aircraft return from a deployment specific to a program that began as a Liberal campaign promise.

Even when in opposition, the Liberals had called for Canada to increase its commitment to Syrian resettlement; the prior Conservative government had initially pledged to take in 11,300 people by the end of 2018.

But during the campaign, the Liberals revealed a plan of their own, promising that the government would take in 25,000 people itself and work with private sponsors to bring in even more.

They later went further, saying they'd bring in that many people by the end of this year.

Work on that started the very day the Liberals won power, with companies like Air Canada reaching out immediately to see if their planes could be helpful as part of the program. Once the first two military flights arrive, private chartered flights will shuttle the vast majority of the remaining Syrians to Canada.

It wasn't until the Liberals struck a cabinet sub-committee specifically designed to roll out the program that plans began to coalesce -- and one of the first things they heard from their international partners was a plea to reconsider their original year-end deadline.

Together, Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon are hosting close to 3 million of the 4.28 million UN-registered refugees who have fled Syria since the war began there in 2011.

The Liberals also broke their plan down into stages.

To meet the 25,000 goal, about 10,000 would be those who have private sponsors at the ready and in many cases, those files were already in the immigration system because of the previous Conservative commitments. Those would be the cases targeted for settlement by the end of the year; private cases are easier because the support structure is already in place.

Then, a further 15,000 spaces would be reserved for government-assisted refugees with the goal of bringing them in by the end of February 2016.

In recent months, thousands of Syrian refugees have been arriving in Canada but the Liberals are only counting those who've landed since they officially took office on Nov. 4 as part of their commitment.

As of Dec. 7, that number was 416. The government says they have 11,932 applications currently in the system.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Crews save homes from fire in California canyons

    World News CTV News
    Photos Source
  • Jared Kushner's lawyer reveals private email strategy to prankster

    World News CTV News
    Jared Kushner’s lawyer in the scandal involving his use of a private email address has revealed part of the strategy he is employing with his client, in an email exchange with a prankster who posed as Kushner. Source
  • Stunning lawsuit against 'Big Coffee' could lead to cancer warning labels in California [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — A future cup of coffee in California could give you jitters before you even take a sip. A non-profit group wants coffee manufacturers, distributors and retailers to post ominous warnings about a cancer-causing chemical stewing in every brew and has been presenting evidence in a Los Angeles courtroom to make its case. Source
  • Televangelist David Mainse, host of '100 Huntley Street', dies at 81

    Canada News CTV News
    Canadian televangelist David Mainse, who hosted “100 Huntley Street,” has died at age 81. The Burlington, Ont.-based Crossroads Christian Communications Inc., which Mainse founded, said the reverend died after a battle with MDS leukemia. Source
  • Macron calls on Europe to reject isolationism, for EU to share a military force

    World News CBC News
    Calling Europe slow, weak and ineffective, French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said the EU should embrace a joint budget, shared military force and harmonized taxes to stay globally relevant. "At the beginning of the next decade, Europe must have a joint intervention force, a common defence budget and a joint doctrine for action," said Macron. Source
  • Full federal court to hear ’Making a Murderer’ appeal

    World News Toronto Sun
    MADISON, Wis. — A federal appeals court will consider arguments Tuesday over whether detectives tricked a Wisconsin inmate featured in the “Making a Murderer” series into confessing and whether he should go free in a case that puts police practices in the spotlight. Source
  • Toronto cop who Tasered and stomped on suspect appears before disciplinary hearing

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A Toronto police sergeant who stomped on and repeatedly Tasered a man during arrest has made his first appearance at a disciplinary hearing. Sgt. Eduardo Miranda was charged with unlawful or unnecessary use of authority and discreditable conduct under the Police Services Act after a civilian police oversight agency investigation. Source
  • Bangladesh plans separate shelters for Rohingya children

    World News CTV News
    DHAKA, Bangladesh -- Bangladesh is planning to build separate shelters for 6,000 Rohingya Muslim children who entered the country without parents to escape violence in neighbouring Myanmar, a government official said Tuesday. Children make up about 60 per cent of the estimated 480,000 Rohingya Muslims who have poured into Bangladesh over the last four weeks to flee persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. Source
  • Former B.C. finance minister Mike de Jong enters Liberal leadership race

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- British Columbia's former finance minister Mike de Jong has announced his bid for the provincial Liberal leadership, joining a race that already includes two other past cabinet ministers and the former mayors of B.C. Source
  • Trump to visit Puerto Rico next Tuesday

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump says he'll visit hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico next Tuesday. Trump announced the visit after the administration came under criticism for its response to the damage on the island that is home to more than 3 million U.S. Source