Justin Trudeau cries as he is reunited with Syrian refugee he welcomed to Canada a year ago

Mr Trudeau says welcoming Syrian refugees last year as a newly elected Prime Minister proved he could do a good job

Olivia Blair
Wednesday 07 December 2016 10:30 GMT
Justin Trudeau moved to tears when reunited with refugee family he welcomed last year

Justin Trudeau broke down in tears as he was reunited with a Syrian refugee he welcomed into Canada last year.

Mr Trudeau personally welcomed refugees arriving at the airport last year and was seen handing out winter coats. On Monday, he met some of the families who have settled in the country at a restaurant in Toronto in a meeting filmed by Canadian broadcaster CBC.

Vanig Garabedian and his family arrived in the city after fleeing the war-torn Syrian city of Aleppo last December. He described meeting the Prime Minister at the airport and how he felt welcomed into the country after witnessing the horrors of war in his beloved home country.

“When I met the Prime Minister, he said two words: ‘Welcome home’,” Mr Garabedian told a visibly emotional Mr Trudeau. “So imagine, you are leaving a war zone, leaving your home and you are welcomed by two words. My memories at that moment went back to Syria before the war, our life and happiness there and the horrible moments we went through during the war. So I felt that I am proud to be here and now, after one year, I am proud to be Canadian as I always will be proud to be Syrian.”

Mr Trudeau explained his tears: “Being there in the name of all Canadians to welcome people was really important […] witnessing you and your girls walk through the airport towards me was a moment in which I understood just the kind of things we could do as a country and that I can help this country do. You wouldn’t have been walking on Canadian soil that night if I hadn’t said: ‘We can do this together’ and made it done. That, for me, was as strong and clear a reinforcement that I was going to be okay in this job.

“Seeing you here today, I told myself I would not get emotional about this, but it is just a wonderful moment for me but it is also a reflection of what is best about Canada,” he said.

Under Mr Trudeau’s relatively new premiership last year, the Canadian government implemented a plan to accept 25,000 refugees. Since 4 November 2015 over 35,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the country. A further 20,000 applications from refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries are being processed.

While it may not be commonplace to see a politician become visibly emotional, Mr Trudeau was also seen crying when he visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland in February

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