Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Prime minister warmly greets first of 25,000 Syrian refugees

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Georgina Zires, 16-month-old Madeleine Jamkossian, and Zires’ husband, Kevork Jamkossian, refugees from Syria.

Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, greets Georgina Zires, 16-month-old Madeleine Jamkossian, and Zires’ husband, Kevork Jamkossian, refugees from Syria.

"You are home — welcome home," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in greeting the first planeload of Syrian refugees to Canada on Friday.

Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne were at Toronto's Pearson International Airport as the first military flight of 163 Syrians arrived from Beirut.

The new Liberal government said it will resettle 25,000 refugees escaping Syria's civil war by the end of February.

Upon arrival, they were given winter clothing and were housed in an airport hotel before being transported this weekend to sponsored housing in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario.

During processing in Toronto and Montreal, the new arrivals are being given Social Insurance Numbers so they can work, government health-insurance cards for "free" medical care and become permanent residents.

First to be greeted was Kevork Jamkossian, his wife, Georgina Zires, and 16-month-old daughter, Madeleine.

"We suffered a lot but now we feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise," he said.

Trump's remarks produce backlash

There are calls for the Trump Tower in Toronto and Vancouver to be renamed over remarks by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Toronto City Councilor Josh Matlow and Brent Toderian, a former planner for Vancouver, led the demands to reject the Trump brand name.

Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman said he has invited Trump to visit the city's Canadian Museum for Human Rights for insight into tolerance and multiculturalism.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton visited Winnipeg last January and called on Canada to continue fighting the "ideology of hate" and extremist propaganda that fuels terrorism.

News in brief

• Canadians will be looked on as "cowards" should the new Liberal government pull out of the combat mission in the Middle East, the opposition Conservatives say. Prime Minister Trudeau said the government will withdraw its fighter jets and to concentrate on humanitarian measures, including training local forces. If so, "they would be seen on the world stage as cowards," said Conservative Kellie Leitch.

• Safeguards, such as higher down payments, are being put in place by the federal government to ensure stability in the housing market. Homebuyers will have to make at least a 10 percent down payment for houses costing more than $500,000, but lower-priced properties can continue with 5 percent down. Financial institutions will have new capital requirements to keep pace with the growing risk of real estate markets.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar has slumped to 72.79 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.3736 in Canadian funds, before bank and credit card exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent while the prime lending rate is 2.7 percent.

Lower oil and commodity prices pulled markets lower, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 12,851 points and the TSX Venture index 501 points.

The average price of gas is lower at 98.04 cents a liter nationally or $3.72 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.

Lotto 6/49: (Dec. 9) 4, 20, 26, 37, 45 and 46; bonus 6. (Dec. 5) 10, 11, 17, 24, 26 and 29; bonus 12. Lotto Max: (Dec. 4) 8, 15, 24, 25, 27, 36 and 43; bonus 32.

Regional briefs

• There were massive traffic tie-ups in downtown Toronto Wednesday as hundreds of taxi drivers protested the competing ride-hailing Uber service. Cabbies blocked streets to demand the city enforce its bylaws. Mayor John Tory called the action "dangerous and disruptive" and said the city is working on updating laws governing such services.

• After weeks of protest, the Alberta government approved a controversial farm safety bill. Farmers and ranchers believe the legislation that specifies workers' compensation and health and safety rules will hamper their operations. The bill was approved after amendments to exempt families and neighbors where the farm doesn't have paid workers.

• There are concerns about Canada's primary maple syrup industry due to warmer El Niño weather. Production has declined the past two years and next year could be even worse, said University of Guelph food researcher Sylvain Charlebois.

Contact Jim Fox at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Prime minister warmly greets first of 25,000 Syrian refugees 12/11/15 [Last modified: Saturday, December 12, 2015 6:31pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay to provide groceries to families hit by Hurricane Irma

    Hurricanes

    TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, Feeding Tampa Bay and the nonprofit Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa will distribute food and gift cards Tuesday to an estimated 400 families who suffered power outages and lost food after Hurricane Irma.

    Tampa Bay Bucaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, center, in green shirt, serves a meal at a disaster assistance registration center in St. Petersburg on Sept. 15. Winston has purchased 400 $25 gift cards from Publix and is scheduled to present some of them to families who lost groceries after Hurricane Irma from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa at 1907 E Hillsborough Ave. in Tampa. LARA CERRI   |   Times
  2. Hot, isolated, and running out of supplies, parts of Puerto Rico near desperation

    Hurricanes

    JUNCOS, PUERTO RICO — In the heat and humidity here in the central mountains, Meryanne Aldea fanned her bedridden mother with a piece of cardboard Sunday as the ailing woman lay on her side, relieving a large ulcer in her back.

    A man walks from Juncos in search of gasoline. The mountain town is one of the most affected by Hurricane Maria's pass through Puerto Rico. [Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo | Washington Post]
  3. President Donald Trump during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Sept. 22, 2017. Trump called for football fans to boycott NFL games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
  4. Rick and Tom podcast: Worst-Case (Keenum) scenario

    Bucs

    Rick Stroud and Tom Jones break down the Bucs' 34-17 loss to the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis in their latest podcast.

    Minnesota Vikings quarterback Case Keenum (7) scrambles away from Bucs defensive end William Gholston (92) during the first half. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  5. Tonight: Hear ideas for remaking downtown Tampa interchange

    Transportation

    TAMPA — New concepts for rebuilding the downtown interchange will be discussed at a Florida Department of Transportation community meeting Monday night.

    The Florida Department of Transportation renamed its controversial Tampa Bay Express plan, also known as TBX. The plan is now known as Tampa Bay Next, or TBN. [Florida Department of Transportation]