Ottawa/Toronto, Canada (Reuters): Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed refugees fleeing war and persecution on Saturday even as Canadian airlines said they would turn back U.S.-bound passengers to comply with an immigration ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries.
The response came a day after U.S. President Donald Trump put a four-month hold on allowing refugees into the United States and temporarily barred travelers from the seven countries, Trudeau said refugees were welcome in Canada.
To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) January 28, 2017
Trudeau's office said U.S. authorities had confirmed Canadian passport holders, including dual citizens from the seven countries, would not be affected.
Trudeau has walked a fine line with the Trump administration, avoiding direct criticism while promoting the progressive policies of his one-year-old Liberal government.
Trudeau's press secretary, Cameron Ahmad, said that the prime minister would discuss Canada's immigration and refugee policies with Trump. He did not say when that would be.
Air Canada said it was complying with the order but did not comment on whether it had denied anyone travel.
A Porter Airlines spokesman said the Toronto-based carrier will be restricting passengers from traveling to the United States from the listed countries until further notice.