Premiers React to Paris Attacks, Refugee Promise

Canada’s Premiers were quick to share reactions to the Paris attacks.  British Columbia’s Premier Christy Clark was the first to issue a quick statement on the massacre Friday evening.  It read in part: “For centuries, France has been a beacon of light and example for the world, and remains one of our closest friends and allies. Tonight, all Canadians and British Columbians stand with them, both in grief for those who were killed, but also in resolve.”

Over 100 people were killed when a team of organized attackers assaulted 6 different sites in Paris, France Friday evening.  The extremist group ISIS has since claimed responsibility.  French President Francois Hollande declared a state-of-emergency. On Monday he announced plans to seek permission from French Parliament to extend it another 90 days.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made her statement on Monday in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park.  Wynne took the opportunity to thank first responders, and stated that fear was at the root of many responses: It is almost impossible not to react with anger and loathing at the cowardice of these attacks. That anger will be coloured by vengeful rage, but at the heart of many of our responses is fear.”  She went onto call for people to support world leaders as they search for a response.

France has increased its involvement in the coalition’s bombing raids.  Russia has announced it would joining the fight as well following an attack on a passenger jet in the Sinai late last month.

Saskatchewan’s Wall Wants Trudeau to Pause Refugee Resettlement

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to freeze his government’s promise on refugees.  During the federal election the Liberals promised to resettle 25 thousand Syrian refugees by December 31, 2015.  Critics doubt this is possible given the timing, and logistics concerned.  Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose estimated the government would need to process up to 500 refugees daily to meet the target.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

Wall added his voice in a letter to the Prime Minister where he cited security as his main concern.  “I am concerned that the current date-driven plan could severely undermine the refugee screening process.”  His letter continued calling on Trudeau to examine the goal, and processes in place.  Currently Canada accepts people who have been referred by the United Nations Refugee Agency (U.N.H.C.R.), or by another designated referral organization.  Or are sponsored by a private sponsorship group.

Trudeau is standing strong on this promise.  Most of the refugees are settling in Quebec (6,000) and Ontario (10,000).  His government is expected to announce a concrete plan within days.  A Syrian passport was found at the Bata Clan concert hall near the body of an attacker.