11/17/2015 07:44 EST | Updated 11/17/2016 05:12 EST

Régis Labeaume Says Syrian Orphans Preferable To 'Frustrated' Young Men

Quebec City would favour Syrian orphans and families with two children over lone, "frustrated" young men, Mayor Régis Labeaume says.

The mayor made the comment in a phone call with federal Immigration Minister John McCallum on Tuesday morning.

"Families are less frightening to people than frustrated 20-year-old men," Labeaume later told reporters, noting that his request was more emotional than it was rational.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre, who has differed with Labeaume on the timeline for accepting Syrian refugees, came to the defence of his Quebec City counterpart Tuesday, saying he was only speaking from the heart.

"All he asked for, in a sense, is that he wants to know what to expect," Coderre said.

"It is the cities who will be receiving them, so we need to know what to expect."

Coderre underscored, however, that people should not link refugees and terrorists.

The federal government has pledged to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to the country by the end of the year.

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