Deane McRobie (iPolitics):
Just 36 per cent of Canadians think the federal government should allow more refugees from Syria, according to polling by EKOS Research.
“There is a very large number of Canadians that are saying we have to be very careful about who we bring into this country,” says Kyle Matthews, senior deputy director of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies at Concordia University.
“One of the reasons which no one is really talking about, but it’s playing out in Europe, is that there’s concern about the ability to integrate Muslim refugees.”
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau are demanding that the government increase its quota for Syrian refugees, which now stands at 10,000 over the next two years, and Amnesty International issued a press release today calling on the Conservatives to do more, citing pressure from “Canadians (of) all walks of life and all corners of the country.”
But 59 per cent of Canadians think the country is already taking in either too many (25 per cent) or the right number of refugees.
Liberal voters are split. Forty-nine per cent say the number is already too high (24 per cent) or about right; 48 per cent want Canada to allow more.
NDP voters are more welcoming. Fifty-three per cent want to accept more refugees, while 31 are happy with the current number and just 15 per cent think Canada is already accepting too many.
Conservative voters are the most reluctant to raise the quota for Syrian refugees. Just 12 per cent say the government should increase the number, while a combined 88 per cent are either happy with the status quo or wish it were lower.
Last week’s photograph of Alan Kurdi, a two-year-old Syrian refugee who drowned while fleeing Turkey with his family, “gave an image to a crisis that’s been going on for years now, (and) we saw politicians galvanized and demanding to do something,” says Matthews.
But, he asks, while “there is a lot of pressure on Canada … the real issue is why are these people fleeing Turkey? Turkey doesn’t (permanently settle) anybody who comes from the Middle East as refugees … And why are the rich Gulf Arab states doing absolutely nothing to support refugees?”