On Thursday, December 10th, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet welcomed the first flight containing more than 160 Syrian refugees to the nation. The Atlantic reports that Trudeau’s government has pledged to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February 2016. Canada’s previous government led by Stephen Harper had instituted more rigid refugee resettlement policies, but Trudeau wants to distinguish his governance with a strong commitment to accepting destitute populations. This is a return to Canada’s history of flying in thousands of refugees: 5,000 people from Kosovo in the 1990s, 5,000 people from Uganda in 1972, and 60,000 people from Vietnam from 1979-80. At Toronto Pearson International Airport last Thursday Trudeau stated:
“This is something that we are able to do in this country because we define a Canadian not by a skin color or a language or a religion or a background, but by a shared set of values, aspirations, hopes and dreams that not just Canadians but people around the world share.”
While Trudeau is only two months in to his term in office, he has appointed the most diverse Cabinet in the country’s history. He has also advocated for and set up policies showing his commitment to government transparency, a major flaw in the previous government according to The Atlantic. We look forward to seeing where Trudeau takes Canada.