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Immigration Minister John McCallum answers a question during in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 12, 2016.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Federal Immigration Minister John McCallum says his suggestion of a "cultural" element to Syrian refugees' use of food banks was insensitive.

McCallum says he regrets making the comment to a Senate committee earlier Wednesday.

Food banks from Halifax to B.C. have reported serving hundreds of Syrians who have come to Canada since November, the month the Liberal government launched a major resettlement program to bring 25,000 people by the end of February.

McCallum had told the committee the income assistance they receive is not high but went on to say there could also be a cultural element behind why they are using food banks.

He said some of the refugees were coming from camps where it would be the norm to be offered meals.

To date, about 27,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in Canada, spread among nearly 300 communities.

This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.

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