Last Updated on January 24, 2019
Shortly after Islamic State terrorists killed at least 129 people and wounded more than 300 in Paris, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard announced that the province will not turn its back on Syrian refugees. The announcement took place at his party’s general council meeting with Couillard stating that the province will continue with plans to welcome nearly 6,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015.
The Paris attacks were the main topic of discussion at the general council meeting and a minute of silence was observed by delegates while the colours of the French flag lit up centre stage.
Couillard stated in his opening speech, “No to xenophobia and racism, no to exclusion, yes to welcoming and shared citizenship.”
Last week, a banner hanging from an overpass in Quebec City last week proclaimed “Refugees, no thank you.” A Quebec City man gained notoriety when he launched an online petition “urging the Canadian government to suspend the arrival of 25,000 immigrants from Syria for reasons of national security.”
Couillard told reporters he feared Quebecers would become “even more entrenched” and would close their arms instead of opening them. He warned opposition parties not to fan the flames of racism.
Strong, unified action against ISIL
Couillard, who has a son in the Canadian Armed Forces, said, “These people, these barbaric terrorists, they want to destroy democracy, they hate democracy, they hate freedom, they hate freedom of speech, they hate political debate like we have here today. They want to see this disappear from the planet and have their own very distorted view of society and humanity come forward, and this is why we are in a war, in a very different war that our fathers and grandfathers knew, but still a war.”
Couillard urged Canada to join multilateral efforts to combat terrorism and “play the role our allies want us to play.”
This seems to place him at odds with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who made his intentions clear: to put an end to the current Canadian bombing mission against ISIL.
According to acting Public Security Minister Pierre Moreau, despite recent events, the country’s state of alert remains low.
Meanwhile, world leaders plan to meet in Paris starting Nov. 30 to take part in the long-planned United Nations Climate Change Conference. Couillard said he is in favour of maintaining the event, despite the terrorist threat.
France Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced that the climate summit would start as planned, but with boosted security.
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