ALBERTA

Naheed Nenshi Challenges Calgarians To 'Open Our Arms' To Refugees

11/17/2015 01:58 EST | Updated 11/17/2015 02:59 EST
Chris Young/The Canadian Press

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the city will announce a specific plan for resettling Syrian refugees in the next week or two.

Nenshi told reporters on Monday that last week's terror attacks in France and Lebanon shouldn't affect the city's resettlement strategy, which will be unveiled in conjunction with the provincial and federal governments.

"I need to point out that the people who are desperate refugees are fleeing from the exact same people who perpetrated the kind of violence we saw in Paris and Beirut last week," said Nenshi.

"They're running away from the bad guys and, as such, we need to be able to open our arms to make sure that we can provide safety to these folks."

He added: "That said, of course, we need good screening in place, of course we need good systems in place to ensure the integration of people when they get here."

"The people who are desperate refugees are fleeing from the exact same people who perpetrated the kind of violence we saw in Paris and Beirut last week."

Premier Rachel Notley said on Monday that Alberta is ready and willing to take in between 2,500 to 3,000 Syrian refugees.

The comments come in stark contrast to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who wrote a letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put the refugee plan on hold in the interests of Canadian security. Trudeau previously announced plans to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year.

Nenshi said he found Wall's letter "perfectly reasonable" in regards to ensuring proper screening, but disagreed with the premier's suggestion to pause the entire program.

"The right way to do this is to get the right screening in place, and the number of refugees that are accepted are an outcome of the screening as opposed to starting with the number," said Nenshi.

The mayor has been directing Calgarians interested in supporting or sponsoring Syrian refugees to the following resources:

With files from the Canadian Press

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