Share holiday spirit with Syrian refugees, Trudeau says in Christmas message

OTTAWA -- Justin Trudeau is using his first Christmas message as prime minister to encourage Canadians to share the spirit of the season with Syrian refugees.

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Trudeau says this is a time of year celebrated by showing generosity to family and friends.

And he says he trusts Canadians will do the same with Syrian refugees experiencing Canadian holidays and winter for the first time.

After all, he says, Canadians share values of love, hope and compassion -- it is what we do and who are.

The Liberals have committed to resettling 10,000 Syrians by year end, and a further 15,000 by the end of February. As of Dec. 20, 1,608 have landed.

Trudeau also says Canadians should take time to remember the men and women of the military who can't be with their families this holiday. He says Canadians appreciate their sacrifices.

"My friends, I'm deeply grateful for the support you've shown my family and me over this past year. I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve you," Trudeau also says.

"From our family to yours, Sophie and I send you the warmest of Christmas wishes and all the best for health and happiness in 2016."

Here is the text of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Christmas message to Canadians:

My friends,

This is a time to give thanks for loved ones, and look back on the past year. We come together - in places of worship, around the table, or under the tree - to celebrate the spirit of the season.

We often celebrate this time of year by showing our generosity to family and friends. I trust that we will do the same with the thousands of people who are experiencing the Canadian holidays and the Canadian winter for the first time - the Syrian refugees. After all, we share values of love, hope, and compassion. It's what we do and it's who we are.

Let us also take time to remember the brave women and men of the Canadian Armed Forces who cannot be with their families. We appreciate these sacrifices for our country - not just today, but every day.

My friends, I'm deeply grateful for the support you've shown my family and me over this past year. I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve you.

From our family to yours, Sophie and I send you the warmest of Christmas wishes and all the best for health and happiness in 2016.



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