Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conceded his government altered its plans to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees to accommodate the changed perceptions about risk after the terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago.
The Liberal government unveiled some details of the plan to resettle refugees on Tuesday, pushing back the time frame for resettlement to the end of February, rather than the end of this year, and choosing to conduct all security screening overseas, before any of the refugees arrive in Canada.
Mr. Trudeau said things changed in Paris, and that the government wanted to provide reassurance, so Canadians' welcome would not be dimmed.
"One of the things that changed with Paris was the perception that Canadians had. Canadians who have been extremely supportive and open to the idea of bringing in more refugees and demonstrating that Canada is there to help, had a few more questions," Mr. Trudeau told reporters in London.
"And we realized that the most important thing is to be able to reassure Canadians that absolutely everything is being done to keep Canadians safe and therefore ensure that these refugees are welcomed as new Canadians, and not a cause for anxiety or division within the population."
In short, Mr. Trudeau acknowledged that his government sacrificed some of the details of its initial plans so that it could reassure Canadians, so public support for resettling refugees would not fall.
He conceded that for many Canadians, thinking of the Mideast raises concerns, but argued those fears will evaporate when Canadians see the families who have fled terror arriving in Canada -- and hear their stories.
Mr. Trudeau initially promised to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by year-end. Now the goal is the end of February.
Security screening will now be conducted abroad. The government had initially planned to expedite the process by providing many refugees with temporary visas, and screen them in Canada.
Mr. Trudeau came to London touting Canada's record of welcoming people of different cultures -- and his Syrian refugee plan.
"We know that we are not just resettling refugees, we are welcoming new Canadians," he said in a speech at Canada House in London, before a packed crowd of dignitaries and Canadian expatriates.
"And more, Canada can also export the ideas and institutions that make diversity work so well at home."
He said embracing diversity makes the world better and safer.
"In the wake of horrific events like the recent attacks in Paris, as we renew our resolve to work with the international community to help prevent such attacks, and as we reaffirm our steadfast participation in the coalition against ISIL, we must also recommit to building a world where diversity and difference are promoted and celebrated," he said.