VANCOUVER — Conservative leader Stephen Harper gave his response to an article in the Globe and Mail this morning that reported the Prime Minister’s Office approved some Syrian refugee applications for entering Canada, work that is normally already approved by the UN High Commission for Refugees, and Citizenship and Immigration staff.
“The audit we asked for earlier this year was to ensure that these policy objectives are being met, political staff are never involved.”
There are concerns that PMO involvement slowed down the application process for refugees coming to Canada.
Speaking in Vancouver today, Harper defended what he described as an “audit” of the applications, saying political staff did not make any decisions, and the PMO merely reviewed the applications for security reasons.
“Our government has adopted a generous approach to the admission of refugees while ensuring the selection of the most vulnerable people and keeping our country safe and secure.”
Meanwhile, opposition leaders have reacted to today’s story with the Liberal leader Justin Trudeau calling it another example of what he calls Harper’s lack of transparency, and the NDP’s Tom Mulcair accusing Harper of preventing the “arrival of Syrian families into Canada in the worst Syrian refugee crisis since World War II.”