Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander yesterday rejected a proposal by Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau to send Canadian military planes with security and immigration officials to Jordan, Lebanon and Syria to airlift Syrian refugees out of the region, as it did in 1979 with the Vietnamese boat people.
Speaking to Canadian CTV news, the minister said: "1979 is not 2015. We operate in different ways. We have different requirements. We have to go through screening processes that we are obliged, under our immigration laws, to implement. Terrorism was a not a phenomenon in Vietnam."
"Resettlement is not a solution to this crisis," he said, adding that in addition to humanitarian needs, the crisis response requires action on a much larger scale, including the ongoing military mission against Daesh, which Canada is a part of.
"ISIS's presence in the region has forced many Syrians to take refuge in surrounding countries. This is a very bad crisis but it could get incomparably worse were it not for the military effort now underway to try and prevent these jihadist groups from taking over entire countries," he explained.
Speaking to CTV's Question Period, Liberal Party head Justin Trudeau said it's time for the party leaders to meet and craft an improved Canadian response.
"We're not doing enough. I think everyone can agree that we need to do more," Trudeau said. "I think it goes to the kind of country we are. We are a country that has successfully welcomed in people in the past," he said.
Trudeau said he believes the Canadian public would support airlifting Syrian refugees out of the region.
"I think we definitely need to start putting people on the ground to process directly. We should be doing that more often with the kinds of case workers that have been very, very effective for Canada in years past."