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Christy Clark among premiers welcoming Syrian refugees despite fears over Paris attacks

Last Updated Nov 16, 2015 at 4:49 pm PDT

File photo (Sept 29, 2015) (Jill Drews, NEWS 1130 photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Premier Christy Clark says BC will still open its doors to Syrian refugees.

Calling refugee settlement services a federal responsibility, Clark promises to do everything possible to help with the process.

“In British Columbia, we stand with Parisians in our grief and in our resolve to make sure that we are standing up for the shared values that were under attack this weekend so brutally in Paris. We will defend those shared values and we will defend them together,” said Clark at a news conference today.

She says she isn’t sure 25,000 is the “right” number of Syrian refugees to bring to Canada, but reinforces her belief that BC should welcome those in search of safety.

Clark adds the safety of Canadians must come first.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan’s premier is calling for the federal government to suspend its plan to bring the refugees. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Brad Wall says he’s worried about fast-tracking refugee claims, arguing it could undermine screening.

Wall says the attacks in Paris are a grim reminder of “the death and destruction even a small number of malevolent individuals can inflict upon a peaceful country and its citizens.”

Wall isn’t alone in his concerns about bringing large numbers of refugees in quickly. A petition launched online calling for the refugee plan to be cancelled has over 30,000 signatures.

A York University Security Analyst can see why there is concern over the plan. Martin Shadwick admits bringing in this many refugees with this timeline will be challenging.

He thinks the possibility of admitted an Islamic extremist terrorist with the refugees is more remote than some believe. “With modern means of travel there’s many, many ways you can move trouble makers around and inserting them into a refugee stream might not even be the most practical or efficient means for someone who is seeking to cause mischief and mayhem.”

Shadwick thinks the risk can be lowered by taking in refugees who have been staying in established camps for long periods of time. They’ve been in one place long enough to be thoroughly vetted.