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

  • Second abortion-related film to be shown at N.B. high school theatre

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. - A month after the showing of a controversial anti-abortion film at a high school theatre in New Brunswick, opponents of that film are screening a documentary on access to abortions at the same school tonight. Source
  • Cory Booker may end 2020 campaign if fundraising doesn't pick up

    World News CTV News
    DES MOINES, Iowa -- Lagging in polling and fundraising, Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker said Saturday he may end his run unless donations from supporters increase quickly. "I don't believe people should stay in this just to stay in it. Source
  • Man and woman dead after attempted murder on Niagara River

    Canada News CTV News
    FORT ERIE, Ont. -- Two people have died after an attempted murder on the Niagara River that local police say also sent a child to hospital on Friday evening. Niagara Regional Police say they responded to a report of three people in the water in distress near the area of Jarvis Street and Niagara Boulevard in Fort Erie, Ont. Source
  • Democrats condemn Trump over Ukraine allegations. But what will they do?

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON - A whistleblower's complaint over U.S. President Donald Trump's interactions with a foreign leader is testing the power Democrats can use against a Republican president who so brazenly ignores protocol and presidential norms. Democrats were unanimous in their condemnation of Trump for going to extraordinary lengths to tear down a chief political rival by asking the new leader of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden's son. Source
  • Jason Kenney: Alberta will drop more inter-province trade barriers

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT JOHN, N.B. - Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government is eliminating more of exemptions to a free-trade agreement between provinces. Kenney announced during a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Saint John, N.B. Source
  • Green Party would decriminalize all drug possession if elected

    Canada News CBC News
    The Green Party would decriminalize all drug possession if elected in October, leader Elizabeth May said Saturday on the campaign trial in Winnipeg. May said legalizing possession of all drugs is necessary to curb the opioid crisis in Canada. "We must stop treating drug addiction as a criminal issue. Source
  • Climate activists step up protests in Britain and France

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- Environmental activists in Britain and France stepped up campaigns Saturday to get their governments to confront climate change with greater urgency, part of a week of global climate actions. Thousands of people marched in south Paris to press French President Emmanuel Macron, world leaders at the United Nations and multinational companies to reduce greenhouse emissions faster, Source
  • Biden calls for transcript of Trump's phone call at centre of whistleblower complaint

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump urged the new leader of Ukraine this summer to investigate the son of former vice-president Joe Biden, a person familiar with the matter said. Democrats condemned what they saw as a clear effort to damage a political rival, now at the centre of an explosive whistleblower complaint against Trump. Source
  • Jailed former Somali child refugee to be released, transferred to treatment centre

    Canada News CBC News
    A former Somali refugee and foster child who is facing deportation will be released from the Edmonton Remand Centre where he has been held since March and will be heading to a treatment centre. Abdilahi Elmi had been scheduled for deportation in August because of his criminal record, until the UN petitioned Canada to delay his departure. Source
  • U.S. police assess rise in threat tips after 3 mass killings

    World News CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- It had all the makings of a massacre. Six guns, including a Colt AR-15 rifle. About 1,000 rounds of ammunition. A bulletproof vest. And an angry Southern California man who threated to kill his co-workers at a hotel and its guests. Source