In response to US President Donald Trump’s executive order blocking refugees from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the US for 120 days in order to keep out “radical Islamic terrorists”, Toronto Mayor John Tory released a statement on January 28, 2017 reaffirming his commitment to welcoming refugees.
“Toronto is the most diverse city in the world. Our citizens come from every part of the globe, and arrived here looking for opportunity, equality and, often, safe harbour. While there is still work to be done, I am proud of our city’s legacy of acceptance and inclusion, and the fact that our economy relies on the hard work and expertise of people of all backgrounds. Our city’s motto is ‘diversity is our strength’. We understand that as Canadians we are almost all immigrants, and that no one should be excluded on the basis of their ethnicity or nationality. I have reached out to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to offer any help and support the city can provide in light of recent events. As our federal government continues to enforce Canadian immigration policy with focus on the safety and security of our entire nation, Toronto will continue to welcome refugees and new Canadians.”
Tory’s message echoed that of Prime Minister Trudeau, who tweeted the following: “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.”
Trump’s executive order gives priority to victims of religious-based persecution, which has been labelled “Islamophobic” by the mainstream media.
The provision says: “Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.”
Trudeau has consistently refused to prioritize resettlement of refugees based on religion. He came under fire from the Conservatives for “abandoning” the Yezidis, who are targeted by ISIS for rape, torture and murder.
Of the more than 39,000 Syrian refugees who were resettled under the Liberal program since December 2015, only a handful of Yezidis were able to enter Canada.
Ilana Shneider is the co-editor of CIJnews and the founding executive director of Canada-Israel Friendship Association, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the mutually beneficial, long-standing diplomatic, economic and cultural ties between Canada and Israel. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org