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Trudeau defends immigration system after question about murdered Burnaby teen

FILE PHOTO: 13-year-old Marrisa Shen was reported missing around 11:30 p.m. on July 18th, 2017. Hours later, her body was found at Burnaby's Central Park. (IHIT)

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) – There were some tough moments at the prime minister’s town hall in Kamloops on Wednesday, and it wasn’t all because of an ongoing pipeline dispute playing out in B.C.

Justin Trudeau was pressed on a number of topics, and even faced a question about the 2017 death of Burnaby teen Marrisa Shen.

“Can you guarantee that Marrisa Shen was not killed by a Syrian refugee who came to Canada after you were elected?” an audience questioned Wednesday evening.

The man was referring to Shen’s accused killer, Ibrahim Ali, who is a Syrian national who came to Canada as a refugee two years ago. He’s since become a permanent resident.

Trudeau said he understands the concern some people may have, but argued tying things like immigration policy to the murder aren’t helpful or useful in a diverse society.

“To set up a false dichotomy that says ‘well part of everything we need to do to keep Canadians safe is to keep people from away out of this country,’ is simply not the way we are as Canadians,” Trudeau said. “The generalizations and the danger we get in in tying things like immigration policies to incidents like this, is something that I don’t entirely know is helpful or useful.”

He added people coming to Canada want nothing more than to work hard and build a better future for themselves and their families.

Shen’s body was found in Burnaby’s Central Park in July, 2017. Ali has been charged with first-degree murder in relation to her death, however none of the claims have been proven in court.

-With files from Marcella Bernardo