WATCH ABOVE: Harper promises program to support persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East.
The Conservatives are promising to bring 10,000 additional refugees from Syria and Iraq if re-elected – despite refusing to say whether thousands of others from the war-torn region have already been resettled.
Stephen Harper says the party would meet the new commitment over four years by targeting refugees from religious minority groups in the region who face persecution or the threat of extremist violence.
In 2013, the Conservative government promised to resettle 1,300 Syrian refugees by the end of 2014, but took until this past March to do it.
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Then in January, the government committed to a further 10,000 resettlements over the next three years, but has steadfastly refused to say how many have actually arrived in Canada.
As for Iraq, Harper says the government is on track to resettle 23,000 Iraqis by the end of the year.
The Tories had committed to resettle 20,000 in 2009.
Harper’s announcement includes a multi-million-dollar pledge to fund groups that are trying to protect places of worship and religious artifacts targeted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
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The Conservatives want to spend $9 million over three years on the project through a fund overseen by the Office of Religious Freedom that the Conservatives created in 2013.
The proposal would boost the office’s budget by 60 per cent.
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