10/08/2015 09:51 EDT | Updated 10/08/2016 01:12 EDT

Trudeau says not surprised by report PMO intervened in Syrian refugee process

VAUGHAN, Ont. — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he isn't surprised by a report that says the processing of some Syrian refugees was halted this spring so the Prime Minister's Office could vet their applications.

Trudeau is calling it further evidence of Stephen Harper's lack of transparency, and us urging Canadians to vote the Conservatives out of office on Oct. 19.

A Globe and Mail report says the Prime Minister's Office intervened in the handling of Syrian refugees, saying all applicants referred by the United Nations would require Harper's approval.

The report says the halting of applications lasted for at least several weeks and was not disclosed to the public, while an audit was ordered of all UN referrals from 2014 and 2015.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says the government was concerned about the integrity of the system and wanted to ensure that security was not compromised.

Trudeau was campaigning north of Toronto in the riding of Vaughan-Woodbridge — won in 2011 by high-profile Conservative Julian Fantino — to outline his party's plans to spend $2 billion to improve GO Transit.

The Canadian Press