Canada sticks to refugee plan but security pressures mount after Paris attacks

Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:54pm EST
 
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canada’s new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the country will still take in 25,000 Syrian refugees before Jan. 1 but he is facing increasing pressure to tighten screening procedures and slow down the process to make sure that Islamic State infiltrators aren't among them.

    In the wake of the series of attacks in Paris on Friday, a number of politicians in Europe and North America have been warning that countries are taking a big risk by allowing in many thousands of refugees without rigorously determining whether any could be dangerous radicals.

    News that at least one of the Paris assailants may have been among refugees who passed through Greece has heightened those concerns.

    Trudeau, who last month won an election fought partly on security and the refugee issue, on Sunday said “Canada is pleased to be stepping up” to take in the refugees and will integrate them into the country. “We will be accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees between now and January 1st," Trudeau said in the written text of a speech at the G20 major powers summit in Turkey.  

    The debate has been particularly heated in the mainly French-speaking province of Quebec, which - like France - has a large North African immigrant community and is grappling with concerns about radicalization of Muslim youth.

    Last year, two Quebec-born Muslim converts staged separate attacks on Canadian soldiers, near Montreal and on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, killing two.

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The landmark CN Tower is lit blue, white and red in the colors of the French flag following Paris attacks, in Toronto November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Chris Helgren