“This is a wonderful night.”
Mr Trudeau was joined by government and opposition MPs, who shook hands and shared smiles with the men, women and children exiting the military airlift.
“This is a wonderful night, where we get to show not just a planeload of new Canadians what Canada is all about, we get to show the world how to open our hearts and welcome in people who are fleeing extraordinarily difficult situations,” he said.
Mr Trudeau’s Liberal government reduced the number of Syrian migrants it was accepting by the end of this year following the Paris attacks, which ignited concern that the party’s pledge to welcome 25,000 before the New Year would be a security concern.
Instead, the Canadian government plans on resettling 10,000 by the year’s end and an additional 15,000 by the end of February.
While some arrived via military aircraft, other refugees who were privately sponsored travelled on commercial flights to Toronto’s main terminal, where they were met by sponsors and members of the public at the airport.
Some came to the airport with handmade signs to welcome the newcomers, one reading “Welcome to Canada” in Arabic.
According to Soriya Dasir, a worker with Abraham Festival, it was an exhaustive journey, but one that the refugees are endlessly thankful for.
“They are very tired, but they are happy and hopeful.”
Meanwhile, Toronto’s major John Tory tweeted a welcome, and the country’s largest newspaper, the Toronto Star, ran a front page with a “Welcome to Canada” banner in both English and Arabic. The paper also published an article which explained Canadian weather, the ins and outs of national slang and ice hockey.
What is your take on the Canadian government’s response to the Syrian crisis?
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