NEWS
09/21/2015 09:40 EDT | Updated 09/21/2016 01:12 EDT

Christine St-Pierre tours European refugee camps, offers help

Quebec's minister of international relations has extended a stay in Europe to tour Syrian refugee camps, saying Quebec has the expertise to help.

Christine St-Pierre visited camps in Namur, Belgium and Munich, Germany. The visit comes one week after the Quebec government sent 5,000 cots and blankets to Germany to help with the refugee crisis.

St-Pierre said she wanted to see how European authorities are handling the refugee crisis, and to let people know Quebec has developed a certain skill in integrating newcomers to the province.

"What they have to know about us is we have in Quebec a system for immigration and linguistic integration," St-Pierre told CBC Daybreak's Mike Finnerty.

St-Pierre saw refugees arriving and housed at a military base in Namur.

"It was very touching to see them and how the Red Cross welcomed them," St-Pierre said.

She said she also appreciated the way the mayor of Namur explained to residents what was happening.

"He decided to have a public event with the population in Namur and he explained to the population what he was willing to do, receiving 400 refugees in the city," said St-Pierre. "Then he explained it will be well organized with the Red Cross."

St-Pierre also went to a camp in Munich today, a city which has received 70,000 migrants since September 1, 2015.

"It's a very, very difficult organization, but they are managing very, very well," said St-Pierre. "What I saw is volunteers, people who are going to do the job."

St-Pierre said after the initial arrival of migrants, European authorities will have to take a long-term look at the situation.

"One day, the refugees have to look at the future, and [the authorities] have to look at what they will do with them," said St-Pierre.  "We can help them with the integration, in linguistic [matters], in the workforce. So this is mainly what we want to show to our friends in Bavaria."

Quebec has said it is ready now to accept 3,650 Syrian refugees this year.

Canada has set a target of 10,000 refugees.

Since the Syrian civil war begun four years ago, only 2,300 have come to settle here.