Statement from Minister Mendicino to remember Operation Syrian Refugees

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OTTAWA, ON, Dec. 10, 2020 /CNW/ - The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued the following statement:

"Five years ago, on December 10, the first flight as part of Operation Syrian Refugees, left for Canada. It was an emotional milestone in what was to become a national project, and one that built upon our great Canadian humanitarian tradition of offering protection to people from around the world escaping persecution and violence.

"I had the privilege of being at Pearson International Airport in Toronto that night with my eight year old daughter. The experience of welcoming families that had fled violence in their home country to their new home was one of the most profound moments that I have had as a parliamentarian, a Canadian, and as a father.

"The success of Operation Syrian Refugees can be attributed to the people of Canada. It was not just a government initiative, it was a whole of country initiative. We saw outpourings of support from communities, businesses and people from all walks of life. It was made possible because of the dedication of private sponsors and the resettlement service providers who made sure the refugees were provided for, and our international partners who helped bring them here.

"It was a massive humanitarian effort and it showed the strength of our country and the depths of our compassion. In 2018 and 2019, Canada was the top resettlement country globally.

"Since that first flight, nearly 73,000 Syrian refugees have settled into communities from coast to coast to coast. Many have become Canadian citizens, and I have been honoured to attend some of their citizenship ceremonies.

"There was never a doubt that those arriving in December 2015, and in the months that followed, would give back to Canada - and they have. We see the results of their determination and resilience, and we salute the strength of those who are now our neighbours, our friends, our employees and employers and, for many, our fellow Canadian citizens.

"To those who worked and volunteered as part of this important chapter in Canadian history, we thank you.

"To those who found a new home in Canada through Operation Syrian Refugees, our sincere hopes for your continued success and happiness for years to come."

SOURCE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada


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