When the federal government set out its plan last week for bringing 10,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of this year, and another 15,000 by the end of February, it seemed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new government finally had this file in hand. But the aims set out by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister John McCallum raised more questions than they answered for those who must now grapple with the practical problems of this massive undertaking.
Canadian city governments are being asked to find apartments and provide services to thousands of new arrivals in the next three months. Raymond Louie, a veteran Vancouver city councillor, is the top spokesman for mayors as president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). Louie spoke with Maclean’s about the enthusiasm of FCM members across Canada for the Syrian refugee mission—but also their pressing need for more details, not to mention more money, from the federal government.