‘Iso­lated in­ci­dent’

Syr­ian spokes­woman says pep­per-spray at­tack doesn’t re­flect Cana­di­ans’ views

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE -

Fri­day night’s in­ci­dent.

“To be hon­est, Cana­dian peo­ple would not do this, the ma­jor­ity of them,” Kurdi said. “They are big sup­port­ers to the refugees.”

A large group was gath­ered out­side a Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada cen­tre dur­ing an event for newly ar­rived Syr­ian refugees last Fri­day around 10:30 p.m. when a man on a bi­cy­cle rode by and pep­per sprayed about 15 peo­ple, said Van­cou­ver po­lice spokesman St. Randy Fin­cham.

Fin­cham said the force is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the in­ci­dent as a hate crime.

Canada’s Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter John McCal­lum de­scribed it as an “iso­lated in­ci­dent” that won’t tar­nish the coun­try’s mi­grant-friendly rep­u­ta­tion.

The world rec­og­nizes that Canada is very wel­com­ing to refugees, and that mes­sage will con­tinue to res­onate, said McCal­lum.

Canada has been praised on the world stage for its pledge to take in 25,000 Syr­ian refugees by the end of next month, and a photo of Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau wel­com­ing mi­grants at the air­port was pub­lished around the world.

McCal­lum said his govern­ment ut­terly con­demns the pep­per spray­ing and says Syr­ian refugees have no rea­son to feel un­safe in Canada.

“I think that the ex­pe­ri­ence that the vast ma­jor­ity of them have, of be­ing wel­comed at the air­port, and given what they need, cloth­ing and hats and boots, and large num­bers of wel­com­ing Cana­di­ans ... I think that sent a very clear mes­sage,” he said.

“I think that ex­pe­ri­ence shared by so many of the refugees is go­ing to eas­ily trump this one iso­lated in­ci­dent.”

CP PHOTO

VPD Chief Con­sta­ble Adam Palmer ad­dresses the me­dia dur­ing a news con­fer­ence in Van­cou­ver Satur­day. Palmer was ad­dress­ing a in­ci­dent which oc­curred Fri­day night out­side the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Canada where a man pep­per sprayed a group of men, women and chil­dren.

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