Post-Paris incidents reveal anti-Muslim sentiments in Ontario

Nov 25, 2015

Canada has pledged to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year. That means in December, hundreds will arrive every day. But since the militant attacks in Paris, some political leaders in the country have voiced concern and, in some regions, there has been a backlash against Muslims.

Ontario is taking in the lion's share of the refugees and it's also had the highest number of recent anti-Muslim incidents.

A mosque was set on fire in Peterborough, Ontario. A Muslim student at the University of Toronto claims he was spat on and insulted. A Muslim woman was attacked and robbed outside a Toronto elementary school, allegedly by two white men who pulled on her hijab and punched her, then called her a terrorist. Two Muslim women were accosted and verbally assaulted on a Toronto subway.

At least one premier, Brad Wall of Saskatchewan, wants the prime minister to reconsider his plan.

“We should give ourselves enough time to reevaluate and that's what we’re asking the prime minister to do,” said Wall.

Ontario is taking the greatest share of the refugees, about 10,000. Premier Kathleen Wynne says her government will stay the course.

“We believe that it is very important, in the face of this humanitarian crisis, to be resolute and to open our doors. We think it's who we are as Canadians, it's who we are as Ontarians,” said Wynne

Last weekend, Canadian officials also sought to reassure their counterparts south of the border. The minister of public safety, Ralph Goodale, had a telephone conversation with homeland secretary Jeh Johnson and told him the tight timelines won't affect Canada's ability to appropriately select and screen the refugees.