OTTAWA — Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is spitting mad about reports that the Prime Minister’s Office played a role in vetting Syrian refugees.
The Conservative government ordered a review of some cases this summer as a result of intelligence reports that warned of possible security threats.
A CTV News report, citing unnamed sources, says the Prime Minister’s Office was actively discouraging the Department of Citizenship and Immigration from accepting Sunni or Shia Muslims.
Trudeau says the PMO was making sure it could take political advantage of those families that were being accepted, something he calls “disgusting.”
He says a Liberal government would “absolutely not” prioritize religious and ethnic minorities.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the audit was ordered simply to ensure the most vulnerable were being selected without compromising national security, and insists his staff members were not involved in the selection process.
Of the 11,300 Syrian refugees the government has committed to resettling since the start of the Syrian war, the vast majority are being resettled by private groups, mostly churches.
But the June audit was carried out only on government-assisted refugee cases, including those already in Canada and those still in the queue, forcing a halt to processing those files for several weeks.
Harper and Tom Mulcair are both releasing their campaign platforms today — the Conservative leader in Richmond, B.C., and the NDP leader in Montreal.
The Canadian Press