Did Canada Agree to Take in 100,000 Palestinians?

A story first attributed to a media outlet in Lebanon has prompted criticism and a public denial from the Canadian government, which flatly called it misinformation.

On September 4 2019, AlAkhbar.com reported that, per an agreement between Canada and the United States, the former country would “receive 100,000 Palestinians,” with 40,000 of them being “expelled” from Lebanon and another 60,000 coming from Syria. The news was attributed to “an official source in one faction.” Another 16,000 Palestinians from Lebanon, the report said, would be placed in Spain as part of the deal.

From there the story was later picked up by the Jerusalem Post and spread further via social media, eventually ending up repeated by a Toronto Sun columnist:

Canada has quietly agreed to bring in 100,000 Palestinians, according to the Jerusalem Post: https://t.co/6GSDZTTTP2 #cdnpoli

— Anthony Furey (@anthonyfurey) September 4, 2019

However, the Canadian government refuted the report; Mathieu Genest, the press secretary for the country’s ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, said:

Canada is a welcoming country to people from around the world, but it is important that people rely on accurate information before starting their journey. There are no special programs currently being considered to resettle people from Lebanon or Syria. Little information is publicly available about who registered or is responsible for the content. We chose to correct the disinformation to remind both prospective immigrants and Canadians that accurate information is available through Government of Canada websites.

Genest also said that the government had contacted the Jerusalem Post asking for them to run a correction on their story. Though the Post updated its headline (but not the URL) to reflect Genest’s statement, it does not include a correction.

“We regularly monitor for online misinformation and disinformation,” Genest said. “When false information is being circulated, as in this case, we aim to act quickly to provide facts.”

We contacted the White House press office seeking comment but did not hear back prior to publication, as well as Genest’s office and the Jerusalem Post.