Mark Gollom (CBC News):
The picture of Alan Kurdi, a Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach, has heightened attention to Canada’s own contribution to accepting refugees from that war-torn area and other troubled regions.
Critics say that Canada has historically been able to act rapidly to accept refugees on an urgent basis, but is failing to do so during the current crisis in the Mideast.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, responding Thursday to the recent tragedy, repeated a familiar government talking point — Canada has the most generous immigration and refugee system in the world, it admits per capita more people than any other and that his government has welcomed in total 2.5 million new arrivals.
Harper is combining immigrants and refugees, however, two different classifications. Canada does accept a lot of economic immigrants, around 165,000 last year. But refugees make up less than 10 per cent of the people accepted into Canada. And the number of refugees granted status in Canada is down from over 35,000 in 2005 to roughly 23,000 in 2014.