WATCH ABOVE: Exasperated Harper doesn’t know ‘for the life of me’ how you can want to help refugees but not battle ISIS.
OTTAWA – Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says it was heartbreaking to see the image of a dead boy on a Turkish beach, but it doesn’t change the need to fight the Islamic militants that are the root cause of the refugee crisis.
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Harper says he and his wife Laureen saw the tragic photo of three-year-old Alan Kurdi on the Internet and that it evoked images of their own son, Ben, frolicking at that age.
READ MORE: Will this photo help people grasp the desperation of Syrian refugees?
But Harper says the problem is bigger than one tragedy, saying he’s seen tens of thousands of people affected by the ongoing violence in refugee camps in Iraq and Jordan.
WATCH: Harper says the real way to fix refugee crisis is to address the reasons they’re leaving in the first place.
He says that’s why Canada must stay the course, both militarily and by providing humanitarian aid to those affected by the continuing violence in Syria and Iraq.
Harper says Canada will admit more refugees from the region, but must also continue to stand with its allies in the fight against the extremists who are forcing people to flee their homes.
He was commenting after he postponed a campaign announcement and cancelled a photo op Thursday as Europe’s refugee crisis washed over the federal election.