Tima Kurdi says pepper-spray attack doesn't reflect 'majority' of Canadians' views

VANCOUVER -- A high-profile member of Canada's Syrian community says Friday night's pepper spraying of Syrian refugees at a welcome event in Vancouver was likely a one-off event and doesn't reflect how the majority of Canadians view the newly arrived migrants.

See Full Article

Tima Kurdi -- the aunt of three-year-old Alan Kurdi, who drowned while fleeing civil strife in Syria -- says the support Canadians have shown to refugees is "unbelievable" and they shouldn't be blamed for Friday night's incident.

"To be honest, Canadian people would not do this, the majority of them," Kurdi said. "They are big supporters to the refugees."

A large group was gathered outside a Muslim Association of Canada centre during an event for newly arrived Syrian refugees last Friday around 10:30 p.m. when a man on a bicycle rode by and pepper sprayed about 15 people, said Vancouver police spokesman St. Randy Fincham.

Fincham said the force is investigating the incident as a hate crime.

Canada's Immigration Minister John McCallum described it as an "isolated incident" that won't tarnish the country's migrant-friendly reputation.

The world recognizes that Canada is very welcoming to refugees, and that message will continue to resonate, said McCallum.

Canada has been praised on the world stage for its pledge to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of next month, and a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcoming migrants at the airport was published around the world.

McCallum said his government utterly condemns the pepper spraying and says Syrian refugees have no reason to feel unsafe in Canada.

"I think that the experience that the vast majority of them have, of being welcomed at the airport, and given what they need, clothing and hats and boots, and large numbers of welcoming Canadians ... I think that sent a very clear message," he said.

"I think that experience shared by so many of the refugees is going to easily trump this one isolated incident."

British Columbia's jobs minister Shirley Bond said she is dismayed that the province will be talked about across the country because of a "shameful act."

She said the incident is entirely contrary to what she's seen across B.C., where people have opened their homes and offered generosity to Syrian refugees.

"British Columbia is known as a place that is inclusive, that is incredibly multicultural," she said.

"I was heartsick, because this is not who we are. It does not reflect our values. I think British Columbians need to stand up and condemn what happened, and I think that will be the strongest message we can send."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • One dead, one in critical after plane crashes into river near Jasper, Alberta

    Canada News CTV News
    JASPER, Alta. - One person has died and another was taken to hospital after a small plane crashed into a river in western Alberta. RCMP Const. Shelley Nasheim says the aircraft was attempting to take off from an airstrip near Jasper on Sunday afternoon when it crashed into a nearby river. Source
  • 5 shot dead, 6 wounded in Acapulco bar near beach

    World News CTV News
    ACAPULCO, Mexico -- Gunmen killed five men and wounded six other people at a popular bar in Acapulco on Sunday, the latest in a string of violent incidents for the once-glamorous Pacific Coast resort city that has fallen on hard times. Source
  • Puerto Rico governor says he won't seek re-election in wake of scandal

    World News CBC News
    Puerto Rico's embattled governor says he will not seek re-election but will not resign as the island's leader, though he will step down as head of his pro-statehood party. Ricardo Rossello made the announcement Sunday via a brief Facebook video as hundreds of viewers posted angry messages. Source
  • U.S. notes advance in Mexican migration enforcement

    World News CTV News
    MEXICO CITY -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged during a meeting Sunday that Mexico has made significant progress on migration enforcement, Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said. Ebrard said in a statement that due to these advances, Mexico sees no need to negotiate a "safe third country" agreement with Washington that would require migrants to apply for asylum in Mexico rather than in the U.S. Source
  • Plane crash near Jasper townsite sends two people to hospital

    Canada News CBC News
    Two people have been taken to hospital after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper on Sunday afternoon. It was reported at about 1:30 p.m. that the aircraft crashed into the Athabasca River near the local airport, RCMP Const. Source
  • 1 person dead, another in critical condition after plane crash in Jasper, Alta.

    Canada News CBC News
    One person is dead and another is in critical condition after a small plane crashed near the town of Jasper, Alta., on Sunday afternoon. Alberta Health Services spokesperson Amy Crofts confirmed one person was declared dead on scene, and the other was taken to hospital. Source
  • President's party leads Ukraine election, exit poll says

    World News CTV News
    KIEV, Ukraine -- President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's party took the largest share of votes in the country's snap parliamentary election, an exit poll showed Sunday. The poll of 13,000 voters showed Servant of the People getting 43.9% of the vote for party-list candidates, far ahead of rivals. Source
  • U.S. accuses Venezuela jet of aggressive action over Caribbean

    World News CTV News
    CARACAS, Venezuela -- U.S. authorities on Sunday said that a Venezuelan fighter jet "aggressively shadowed" an American intelligence plane flying in international airspace over the Caribbean, underscoring rising tensions between the two nations. The U.S. Source
  • Relief in sight for southeastern Canada following weekend heat wave

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Relief is in sight for sweltering Canadians after a weekend of high humidity and thunderstorms that have affected sporting events, caused localized flooding, and sent people flocking to local pools to beat the heat. Source
  • Roy Halladay's widow calls late pitcher 'true competitor' at Hall of Fame induction

    Canada News CBC News
    The late Roy Halladay has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. His widow, Brandy, delivered the speech and fought back tears as she spoke. The 40-year-old Halladay was killed in a plane crash in November 2017. Source