Military’s overseas efforts for Syrian refugee program winding down

The military is beginning to wind down its overseas involvement in the Liberal government's commitment to resettling thousands of Syrian refugees in a matter of months.

OTTAWA — The military is beginning to wind down its overseas involvement in the Liberal government’s commitment to resettling thousands of Syrian refugees in a matter of months.

Approximately 70 Canadian Armed Forces members have returned from Jordan and Lebanon, where they were part of a broader government effort to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada by the end of next month.

About 150 soldiers remain in those two countries helping process applications and conduct medical tests on the thousands of Syrians who are still passing through the screening process.

The Defence Department says the decision to bring some personnel home was made in consultation with the Immigration Department in anticipation of the completion of the program.

“Operation Provision has been a tremendous opportunity to showcase leadership and Canadian values on the world stage and we will continue to stand in support of this whole-of-government effort, ready to assist wherever and however we are needed,” Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said in a statement Tuesday.

Where the military is going to be needed next is at home.

Thousands of Syrians landing in the coming days are expected to be billeted at military bases as cities and towns across the country are still busy securing housing for the new arrivals.

Space is available for 6,000 people at various bases and facilities throughout Ontario and Quebec, with an additional 7,000 spots also in reserve if needed, the Forces say on their website.

Canadian Forces Bases Valcartier, Kingston and Borden are expected to be the first three put into use as early as this week.

Tuesday is likely to be the day that the 10,000th Syrian refugee arrives in Canada, a milestone moment for a Liberal program that’s changed shape and focus several times since a commitment to resettling 25,000 Syrians was first made by the party in March.

First, it was that those 25,000 would be entirely assisted by government and in Canada by the end of the last year. Then in November, they divided the program into two parts — 10,000, mostly privately sponsored refugees would be brought in by the end of last year and a further 15,000, mostly government-assisted, would arrive by the end of February.

But of the 9,562 refugees who had arrived by Jan. 10, about half have private sponsors and the other half are government-assisted.

The Liberals have said they still intend to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada under government sponsorship, but that will take until the end of 2016.

Just Posted

Hwy 2 backed up after morning collisions near Red Deer

Two collisions less than a kilometre apart on Hwy 2 south of Red Deer

Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Brash, outspoken, opinionated — longtime hockey broadcaster Don Cherry… Continue reading

National security officials objected to stopping Ukraine aid

WASHINGTON — The view among the national security officials was unanimous: Military… Continue reading

Father of Broncos player who died says Alberta organ donation bill needs work

EDMONTON — The father of a Broncos hockey player whose organs were… Continue reading

Morales says he’s headed for Mexico as clashes rock Bolivia

LA PAZ, Bolivia — Former Bolivian President Evo Morales said Monday he… Continue reading

Your community calendar

Wednesday Pain 101 class — learn to take control of your chronic… Continue reading

Election handed federal leaders a lesson in humility

Three weeks after the votes were counted, the point of the 2019… Continue reading

Opinion: Kenney plainly explains why Alberta deserves a fairer deal

By David Marsden It had been expected that Premier Jason Kenney would… Continue reading

Reflections on writing about the lives of Beckett, Beauvoir

“Parisian Lives: Samuel Beckett, Simone de Beauvoir, and Me: A Memoir,” Nan… Continue reading

Ensign Energy Services slashes dividend in half, reports $37.8M Q3 loss

CALGARY — Ensign Energy Services Inc. cut its dividend in half due… Continue reading

Top teams in good shape as Euro qualifying reaches climax

With the Netherlands missing out on Euro 2016 and Italy absent from… Continue reading

Ricky Gervais returning to host the 2020 Golden Globe Awards

LOS ANGELES — Look out Hollywood, Ricky Gervais is returning to host… Continue reading

Family: Life is what happens …

As we crunch through November it seems the question on everybody’s lips,… Continue reading

Most Read