Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise for the first time as parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
I look forward to working with the new minister in his new role. He is doing an awesome job so far. I also look forward to working with members of the committee, especially the member for Calgary Nose Hill. I know she is doing great work in committee, and I look forward to working with her.
Canadians are united with people the world over in deploring the murderous acts of Daesh. Millions of people have been driven from their homes and persecuted for their ethnic affiliation or sexual orientation.
Canada has been a key contributor in the international effort to address the crisis. Since November 4, 2015, we have welcomed nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees.
I am pleased that all the parties are working together to help the vulnerable victims of Daesh, including the Yazidi population, as evidenced by the unanimous support for the proposal to bring Yazidis to Canada within 120 days, by February 22.
It is important to know that bringing to Canada internally displaced people as opposed to refugees is something that we do only in very exceptional circumstances. This is one of those circumstances.
We are committed to meeting that 120-day deadline, but it is also important to take the time to do things right and ensure that we have in place settlement supports, welcoming communities, interpreters, and plans to meet the psychological and social needs of the people we are welcoming. That is why, as the outgoing minister said in response to the initial question, we have worked very hard to design a two-part plan. We are bringing in people who live outside Iraq, in Turkey and Lebanon, and, at the same time, we are identifying women and their families who live in Irak.
The department is also working closely with welcoming communities to ensure that settlement supports are in place and available to individuals upon their arrival.
We know that we need to make sure that these victims are protected from Daesh, but because the region is still so unstable, it is extremely challenging to identify and interview these people and get them out of Iraq while ensuring the safety of our immigration officers, members of the Yazidi community, and other vulnerable groups.
When we prepare operational plans, our priority is the safety of individuals, staff, and partners. It also takes considerable resources to process the files of difficult-to-access populations.
That said, the Government of Canada is looking at ways to respond to the challenge in northern Iraq. IRCC officials recently completed a third visit to the region.
Over the course of the three trips, they interviewed a large number of Syrian refugees, as well as some internally displaced persons, and met with key partners in order to collect as much information as possible about the situation on the ground.
The desire to help those in need and to protect them is a longstanding Canadian tradition that is alive and well. We hope to continue to be global leaders, but there is no miracle solution for these problems.
We continue to work with our partners in the region to respond to the various challenges of resettling this vulnerable population in northern Iraq, and we will communicate on our progress as soon as it is appropriate,