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A Syrian refugee, centre rear, waits in a a tent be loaded onto a train to Croatia at the railway station of Sid, Serbia, Nov. 5, 2015.Manu Brabo/The Associated Press

The Trudeau government vowed to put a premium on security as key ministers sought to ease growing concerns over Ottawa's plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year.

"Anything that we do, it's going to make sure that security is at the forefront," Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told reporters after a cabinet committee meeting. "Security is paramount, and we want to make sure that we get this right."

Asked whether the refugees will arrive by the end of the year as the Liberals promised during the election campaign, Immigration Minister John McCallum said: "We will welcome them well, that is to say that we will pay due regard, total regard, to issues of security and health, which means we will do it rapidly, but we will do it properly."

He added that he has spoken to dozens of provincial immigration ministers and mayors across the country, insisting he is aware of the preoccupations expressed in recent days by premiers and mayors.

"Yes, they said we had to be careful in terms of security, but that is what I have always said," Mr. McCallum said.

The heads of the RCMP, CSIS and the Canadian Forces were present as the cabinet subcommittee in charge of the refugee issue met in Ottawa on Tuesday. Mr. McCallum and Health Minister Jane Philpott said the government's detailed plan will be made public in coming days.

Last Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris fuelled concerns across the country about the government's ability to properly screen all newcomers, with a number of political leaders calling on Ottawa to delay its plans.

Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume urged the government to prioritize orphans and families on Tuesday, adding Ottawa should avoid welcoming "frustrated 20-year-old guys."

"We think that bringing in families is much safer," Mr. Labeaume told reporters in Quebec City.

Mr. McCallum spoke to Mr. Labeaume about his concerns on Tuesday, in addition to meeting with members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' task force on Syrian refugee resettlement.

"The minister offered further assurance that the security of Canadians continues to be the priority for the government. We remain confident the government will meet its security obligations," FCM president Raymond Louie said.

Speaking on his way to an Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Manila, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said security was "at the very core" of the government's efforts to implement its election promise.

"One of the very first jobs of Canadian Prime Minister is to ensure the security of Canadians and of our communities and that has always been an integral part of our approach to accepting 25,000 Syrian refugees, and that continues to be an extremely high priority," Mr. Trudeau told reporters. "It didn't take the tragedies of Paris for us to suddenly realize that security's important. We've known for a long time and we continue to be very much committed to keeping Canadians safe while we do the right thing to engage responsibly with this humanitarian crisis."

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reiterated her vow Tuesday to bring 10,000 refugees to the province by the end of 2016. She said details are still being worked out with the federal government, including language training and housing for the refugees, in addition to questions of security.

"I think what we have to say is we have to be vigilant, we have to be perhaps more vigilant in terms of security measures," she said. "We will certainly be working with the federal government to make sure all of those protections are in place. But, I believe that we can do that and we can learn from whatever this situation can teach us."

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Tuesday that he is supportive of any change the federal government wants to make to its timeline of bringing in 25,000 refugees by the end of the year.

"[Mr. Tory has] been clear that these decisions should be made not on the basis of commitments made during elections, but rather on the basis of what is practical and sensible and careful," a spokesperson for the mayor said.

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