Not only does Canadian Immigration Minister Chris Alexander want to take in 10,000 more government-sponsored Syrian Muslim refugees…

He wants to bring in thousands more by having Canadian citizens privately sponsor them, as well.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander
Immigration Minister Chris Alexander

CBC  Immigration groups are urging the Canadian government to take responsibility for sponsoring a minimum of 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next two years, ahead of World Refugee Day on Friday. The Office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees asked countries around the world in February to take in 100,000 Syrian refugees in 2015 and 2016.

The Canadian Immigrant Settlement Sector Alliance, a national umbrella group that represents provincial associations who support the settlement and integration of newcomers to Canada, is urging Immigration Minister Chris Alexander to respond to that appeal by agreeing to sponsor at least 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2016.

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“We should step forward to offer the UNHCR a minimum of 10,000 resettlement spaces or 10 per cent of the current appeal over the next two years,” the group said in a letter to Alexander dated June 4. “We would like to propose that the 10,000 additional resettlement spaces be considered through the government assisted refugee program,” said the letter to Alexander dated June 4.

The alliance is proposing the government resettle 2,830 Syrian refugees in Ontario in 2015 and 2016, 2,720 in the Prairies, 2,484 in Quebec, 1,134 in B.C., and 830 in the Atlantic provinces.

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Alexander told CBC News on Thursday that he welcomed the group’s proposal and that while the Canadian government is considering the proposal by the UN refugee agency to resettle more Syrian refugees over the next two years, it has not yet come to a decision.

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Alexander told CBC News on Thursday that he welcomed the group’s proposal and that while the Canadian government is considering the proposal by the UN refugee agency to resettle more Syrian refugees over the next two years, it has not yet come to a decision.

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The immigration minister did not rule out taking in a high number of government-assisted refugees but said the country could take in a lot more refugees if more Canadians opened up their doors to sponsoring refugees from Syria.

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“It’s possible to imagine a very large number of government-assisted [Syrian refugees.] We know we’ll be able to do much more if we combine our government assistance with innovative forms of private sponsorship,” Alexander said. He appealed to Canadians to see what they can do to ensure their “tax dollars and resources … go as far as they possibly can to help Syria.”

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