Candice Malcolm: "Liberals can do more to help Syrian refugees integrate"

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(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Kudos to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for talking about the importance of integrating new immigrants into Canadian society.

During a panel discussion on Thursday, Trudeau said that Canada “didn’t happen by accident, and it won’t continue without effort.” He said it takes time, but that “we all fundamentally need to aspire to the same shared values in Canada.”

Shared values? Cue the outrage from the national media! Just kidding. Liberals are allowed to talk about our values without creating a firestorm and stirring a heated national debate.

Trudeau went on to say that Canadians shouldn’t be “overly impatient” with the integration of newcomers, reminding us that first generation newcomers always have a difficult time adjusting.

Trudeau is correct, integration takes time.

But when it comes to helping immigrants get settled here in Canada, the Trudeau government is doing newcomers no favours. This is particularly true for the newly arrived Syrian refugees.

After an audacious campaign trail pledge, the Trudeau government was in a mad rush to meet its political target of resettling tens of thousand of refugees in just a few months. They cut corners, ignored potential security concerns, overburdened community organizations and neglected the needs of the refugees.

Despite all the virtue signalling by the Trudeau government, Syrians refugees are still struggling to cope with life in Canada.

The most important step towards integration is learning to communicate in the local language. Learning English or French is a must. But thousands of Syrian refugees are unable to understand or communicate, thanks in part to long queues for government-run language courses.

Only about 5,400 Syrians have enrolled in federally-funded language courses, out of more than 30,000 who have arrived in Canada since Trudeau was elected. That is less than 20%.

Wait times for these government-funded language courses range from six months up to two years.

But while language queues grow...READ MORE