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Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (L) walks with Sadiq Khan, mayor of London following a bi-lateral meeting at the Global Progress Conference in Montreal September 15, 2016.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

The current wave of resistance to immigration on the part of some Canadians is similar to what happened with new arrivals to this country after the Second World War, says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"There's nothing new about this," Mr. Trudeau said in response to a question during a panel discussion Thursday on how to address the concerns being expressed about so-called "non-Canadian" values and unwillingness to integrate on the part of some foreigners, including Muslims.

He referred to the discrimination experienced by Italian and Greek immigrants in postwar Montreal.

"There was tremendous discrimination and tremendous mistrust. There have always been challenges to the integration of newcomers into society," Mr. Trudeau said during a panel discussion with London Mayor Sadiq Khan at the Global Progess international conference.

"The concerns and fears people have are nothing new."

But history has shown that the groups who arrived in Canada in the post-Second World War era were successfully integrated, said Mr. Trudeau. "We have successfully demonstrated that the drawing in of people from around the world has been an extraordinary plus," he said.

Mr. Khan praised Mr. Trudeau and Canada for their prominent role in helping resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees last year.

"You are a beacon of how a civilized country should treat those who are vulnerable and in need of help," said Mr. Khan, London's first Muslim and ethnic minority mayor.

After again praising Mr. Trudeau for establishing Canada's first gender-balanced cabinet, Mr. Khan said: "I sound like a real fanboy. It's a bit embarrassing."

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