Following November’s terrorist attack in Paris, a Saskatoon man says the public’s view on Syrian refugees is misinformed.
Carlo Arslanian welcomed his cousin, her husband and their five children at the airport in September through a private refugee sponsorship. He said he believes the refugee and immigration process will likely deter any extremists simply because of how long it takes.
“The process took nearly a year-and-a-half from first sending documentation, to them arriving,” Arslanian said about bringing his cousin’s family to Canada.
“Most people that are trying to flee Syria are willing to go through the immigration process that takes (18 months), they’re the good people. The bad ones will jump on a plane, come here as a visitor and get lost in the system,” he said.
As for his cousin’s family now settling into their new life in Saskatoon, Arslanian said they are happier than they ever could’ve been back home in Syria.
“They still think it’s cold but I told them this is not seasonable for what we usually get, the winter has become okay for them,” he said. “They’re all going to school, mom is going to English classes every day, dad and son are settling into work.”
“They love the Canadian lifestyle, they love living here. There’s a bunch of places they want to visit and see, and as a contrast, it’s night and day.”
Appearing on Gormley on Tuesday, Arslanian said if Canadians think Syrian refugees are all Muslim, they’re wrong, adding a big portion of Syrians, including himself and his cousin’s family are Christian.
“While my family is Syrian they’re originally Armenian,” Arslanian said. “To take that further; lots of Syrians are Christians as well so you’ll get Syrians from both religions, Muslim and Christian.”
The first wave of Syrian refugees is already arriving in Toronto and Montreal. There’s still no word on when Syrian refugees will start arriving in Saskatchewan and how many we are expected to receive.