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Canadians divided on welcoming any more Syrian refugees

Last Updated Feb 19, 2016 at 8:09 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Just over half of all Canadians support Ottawa's plan to resettle 25,000 refugees by March 1st

People in BC are most likely to back the federal government's plan

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A new poll from Angus Reid suggests Canadians remain deeply divided about the arrival of Syrian refugees to this country.

Just over half of those asked support the federal government’s plan, however, 44 per cent are against it.

The agency’s Shachi Kurl says the poll was conducted as we near Ottawa’s self-imposed March 1st deadline for resettling 25,000 Syrian refugees.

“Now that we’ve seen some extension of those deadlines and the government is taking a little bit more time to settle people that Canadians in general are more supportive of the plan.”

The poll found 42 per cent of us want Canada to stop taking in Syrian refugees immediately. The rest say the country should stop at 25,000 or accept even more.

“In November when the deadline was still January 1st before it had been extended, fewer than half of all Canadians supported the plan and mostly because of anxiety around the timeline. Canadians felt the timeline was too short.”

She adds there’s not a lot of consensus over whether or not this plan will be seen as a success or failure in the future.

People in BC are most likely to support resettling more Syrians, but no province is in favour of taking in more than 25,000.

Local agency still looking for help

Within the next 10 days, about 1,000 more Syrian refugees will arrive here on the Lower Mainland, but housing is still an issue when it comes to trying to house families of up to seven people.

It’s not easy finding places for people and their families who are coming to Canada to seek safety, and Chris Friesen with Immigrant services of BC is hopeful people who live here might be able to help.

“We’re still looking for housing leads and we’re dealing with families that are larger than expected, five, six or seven members. If anybody has any rental leads to support larger families, let us know.”

“We’re still going through the number of volunteers that have come forward and we’re hoping to begin matching more and more of the volunteers in the community with families to give them that additional social support,” Friesen adds.

This isn’t just for people in Vancouver, other communities are encouraged to reach out and offer whatever they can.