Canada backs off year end Syrian refugee intake target

OTTAWA, CANADA- Canadian Immigration Minister John McCallum opened the door Wednesday to missing an interim target to take in over 10,000 Syrian refugees by year's end, citing bad weather and other factors for a possible delay.
The disclosure cast doubt over whether Ottawa will be able to meet its goal of resettling 25,000 by February 29, despite assurances by the minister.

So far, 1,869 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada and a flight carrying an additional 298 was expected to land in Montreal later in the day.
In addition, more than 8,000 have been cleared to come to Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had initially promised to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by December 31 but pushed the target date to February following criticisms the government was moving too fast amid security concerns in the aftermath of deadly attacks in Paris.
Ottawa has now scheduled up to five flights per day to bring over the refugees, but McCallum, who recently visited camps in Jordan and Lebanon, said their transport could be delayed by "weather" and "human nature," explaining that some refugees simply may not be ready to depart on two days' notice.
"This is like a wave," he told a news conference. "It starts slow and it builds up. And once the wave builds to maximum level, large numbers of refugees (will be) able to fly across the ocean to Canada."
He added: "So one thing I can say with certainty is that our fundamental target will be hit. That is to say, before the end of February, 25,000 Syrian refugees will have landed in Canada as permanent residents."
But "in terms of the more short-term target... the human element and the weather element make it impossible to guarantee the 10,000 will have arrived on Canadian soil by the end of this month."

Thursday, December 24th 2015

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