Despite the federal government laying out its plans on Tuesday to help resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada, Regina’s mayor doesn’t have any more information regarding how many will come to the Queen City and when.
Michael Fougere expects that will come within the next day.
“The most challenging part now is being organized to receive them … making sure that we’re ready to go,” he said shortly after the government’s announcement.
The city is focusing on five main areas: housing management, donation management, volunteer management, newcomer communication and public communication.
“The whole 25,000 two months later is still aggressive, admittedly aggressive by the federal government but the needs are dire and immediate, so they’re doing the right thing. They’re going as fast as they can but they’re doing it, as the minister said, the right way and I think that we certainly support that.”
Fougere is satisfied with the government’s plan on security and medical clearance, calling it a prudent and balanced approach.
For those wishing to make donations or volunteer their time to help refugees, Fougere is directing them to contact the Regina Open Door Society.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall intended to address Regina media but his flight from Ottawa was delayed. He offered this brief statement:
“First of all, I want to thank Prime Minister Trudeau for showing flexibility on this matter. Specifically, I want to thank him for his decision on the Dec. 31 deadline. I know that he values the safety and security of all Canadians and wants to ensure a successful settlement for refugees in their new communities.
“While the decision to move back the deadline is welcomed, I still don’t believe there should be a specific deadline at all. A target date is reasonable. But all the time that might be necessary to ensure security and successful settlement should be taken, whether that can get done by the end of February or not.”
The premier is expected to expand on his comments Wednesday.