This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
Harper government is already being criticized enough for failing to do enough to resettle Syrian refugees, but its opponents have now accused the Conservatives of being selective in choosing which refugees will go to the front of the line.
In response to the questions raised by the NDP in the House of Commons on Friday, the parliamentary secretary for the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Costas Menegakis, adamantly established that the government will be prioritizing religious minorities, who have fled Syria’s brutal civil war and the spread of the militant group ISIS, among Syrian refugees coming to Canada. Secretary Menegakis stated that “we will prioritize persecuted ethnic and religious minorities, those at demonstrated risk, and we will not apologize for that.” Menegakis added that “we have seen countless examples, Mr. Speaker, in recent years of people being persecuted… because of their religious beliefs. To suggest that we are only going to focus on one group of people is categorically false.” Additionally, Menegakis also called the NDP’s criticisms “shameful.”
In addition to failing to point out which religious minorities the government plans to “prioritize,” Menegakis’s words were also completely the opposite of what he said just last week. In response to questions regarding Canada dragging its heels on accepting more refugees because the majority are Sunni Muslim on Dec. 5, Menegakis earlier mentioned that “we don’t look at refugees or evaluate cases of refugees based on people’s religious beliefs or backgrounds.”