Canada has regularly made the headlines over the past 6 years as they have opened their borders to welcome tens of thousands of Syrian refugees. 40,000 Syrians have been resettled in Canada since their current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, took office in November 2015. While these figures pale in comparison to countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Greece, Canada remains’ to be amongst the most active of the countries of Western Europe and North America in relation to Syrian refugees. Shortly after his election to office, Trudeau was photographed welcoming and handing out winter coats to a group of Syrian refugees who had just landed in Toronto; the mutual smiles and hugs appeared heart-warmingly sincere. Not too long after the airport welcoming, at the beginning of 2016, Canada again made headlines in executing an ambition plan of resettling 13,000 Syrian refugees in Canada over a brief period of 6 weeks. Rather than being a case of Trudeau surprising the Canadian people with his favourability towards refugees, one of his campaign promises was in fact a pledge to bring in 25,000 refugees into the country by the end of 2015.
Making the headlines again this month, Trudeau met another young Trudeau in the Canadian city of Calgary. Justin Trudeau Adam Nilan, the 2-month-old baby of Syrian refugees Afraa and Muhammad Bilan, was named after the Canadian premier in appreciation for his policy towards Syrian refugees. The Nilan’s faced 5 years of Syria’s gruelling war before they were offered the opportunity to resettle in Canada. Trudeau has proven to be the perfect antidote in restoring compassion to North America’s attitude to Syria’s refugees, countering Donald Trump’s hard-line intolerance and suspicion of refugees. Taking to twitter, he wrote; “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength”. Things may not be perfect, but Canada remains to be one of the brightest lights emanating from the global West for Syria’s refugees. While Trudeau is famous for his boyish good looks, he’s very much now in the shadows of Justin Trudeau Bilan; what a cute baby.