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

  • Teen with diabetes barred from eating snack on B.C. bus

    Canada News CTV News
    BC Transit is apologizing to a Victoria teenager with Type 1 diabetes after one of its bus drivers prevented her from eating a snack on board when her blood sugar dropped.Visit CTV Vancouver Island for more details on this story Source
  • Goodale to address RCMP oversight after years of harassment allegations against force

    Canada News CBC News
    The federal government is expected to unveil this morning some major structural changes to the RCMP and how it handles harassment— changes that have been years in the making. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale will make the announcement with RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki starting at 10 a.m. Source
  • Crushing defeat for May's deal leaves Brexit path unclear

    World News CTV News
    LONDON -- Britain's Parliament has delivered a crushing verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit divorce deal, rejecting it by 432 votes to 202 -- the biggest defeat suffered by a government in modern British political history. Source
  • U.S. government's partial shutdown takes economic toll as talks to end impasse stall

    World News CBC News
    The U.S. economy is taking a larger-than-expected hit from the partial government shutdown, White House estimates show, as contractors and even the Coast Guard go without pay, and talks to end the impasse seemed stalled. The longest such shutdown in U.S. Source
  • At least 16 killed in northern Syria suicide bombing, war monitor says

    World News CBC News
    A blast struck near U.S.-led coalition forces on Wednesday in Syria's northern city of Manbij, and a war monitor said 16 people had been killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group and a militia source said two Americans were among the dead, but Reuters was unable to independently confirm the death toll. Source
  • Freed by court, Pakistani Christian woman still a prisoner

    World News CTV News
    ISLAMABAD -- Aasia Bibi still lives the life of a prisoner, nearly three months after the Pakistani Christian woman was acquitted of blasphemy and released from death row. She spends her days in seclusion for fear of being targeted by angry mobs clamouring for her death. Source
  • Caught on camera: Car drives off with man clinging to hood

    Canada News CTV News
    An apparent case of road rage in downtown Toronto was caught on camera. Video of the Tuesday night incident shows a man running from a parked car into a crosswalk, toward a white car stopped at a stop sign. Source
  • 'This could be a fireable offence': Calgary Sun column leaked to top city bureaucrats before it was published

    Canada News CBC News
    Calgary Sun columnist Rick Bell is a frequent critic of city hall and knows his articles are widely read within the halls of municipal power. What he didn't know, until just recently, is that top city officials had access to his work even before it was published. Source
  • China shrugs off international criticism over death sentence for Canadian

    World News CBC News
    China said on Wednesday it's "not worried in the slightest" by mounting international concern over the death sentence handed to a Canadian for drug smuggling. Monday's sentence for Robert Schellenberg for smuggling 222 kilograms of methamphetamines into China prompted Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to accuse China of "arbitrarily" applying the death penalty. Source
  • U.S. Congress prepares to skip planned recess if shutdown goes on

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- Staring down the next deadline to pay federal workers, the White House shifted tactics, trying to bypass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to negotiate with rank-and-file lawmakers even as President Donald Trump dug in for a prolonged shutdown. Source