Mychaylo Prystupa(The National Observer):
Canadian federal leaders pivoted the election Thursday entirely to the death of a three-year-old Syrian toddler, whose lifeless face-down-into-a- beach body was shown in news photos worldwide Wednesday. The incident has sparked international alarm for the Middle East humanitarian crisis, and prompted critics to say Canada isn’t taking in enough refugees from the conflict.
Conservative leader Stephen Harper had his light-rail rapid transit announcement in Surrey, B.C. canceled to comment exclusively on the drowning incident that also took the boy’s brother and mother. The family was attempting to flee Syria to Greece when their boat capsized. Only the father Abdullah Kurdi survived.
Media reports suggested the boy’s aunt, Tima Kurdi, in Coquitlam, B.C. had been desperately trying family members into Canada before the crisis ultimately prompted the fateful voyage that killed a total of 12.
Key among questions aimed at Harper on Thursday was why did the Kurdi family of war-afflicted refugees have their refugee claim for Canada rejected in June? Harper would not comment on the specifics and said his immigration minister is still investigating.
The body of 3-yr-old Aylan Kurdi, a Syrian refugee, being lifted from the beach where he was found and shown in photographs worldwide on Wednesday. CP photo.
Both he and his wife, Laureen, found the Internet photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi “heart wrenching” and, he said, Canada must do more more. He has previously said Conservatives must take in more refugees from Iraq and Syria.
But Harper made clear that, in his mind, the “root cause” of this tragedy and the wider refugee crisis in the troubled region was Islamic terror.
“And that is the violent campaign being led against millions of people by ISIS. That is why we are part of the international military coalition,” Harper said.
“Refugee policy alone is not remotely a solution to this problem. It is of a scale far, far beyond that.”