OTTAWA – Federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander said Thursday he is meeting with officials to discuss the case of a Syrian family who drowned while trying to get to Europe.
Three-year-old Alan Kurdi, his five-year-old brother Galib and their mother Rehan died as they tried to reach Europe after their refugee application to Canada was rejected, said Fin Donnelly, who is running for re-election in Port Moody-Coquitlam for the New Democrats.
Donnelly said he delivered a letter in March to Alexander on behalf of Abdullah’s sister Teema Kurdi, who lives in the Vancouver area. But Donnelly said the sponsorship request was not approved.
Images of Alan Kurdi’s lifeless body on a Turkish beach have been featured on newspaper pages around the world.
“The tragic photo of young Alan Kurdi and the news of the death of his brother and mother broke hearts around the world,” Alexander said in a statement Thursday.
“Like all Canadians, I was deeply saddened by that image and of the many other images of the plight of the Syrian and Iraqi migrants fleeing persecution at the hands of ISIS.”
Alexander said he would also get an update on the migrant crisis.
While campaigning in Brossard, Que., Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau was asked about Alexander’s decision to get an update on the Kurdi family case.
“You don’t get to suddenly discover compassion in the middle of an election campaign. You either have it or you don’t,” Trudeau said.
“This government has ignored these pleas of Canadian NGOs, of opposition parties and of the international community … all believe that Canada should be doing more, should have been doing more.”
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Trudeau was campaigning in Montreal.