CALGARY – A Syrian couple have named their newborn baby in honour of Canada’s prime minister, whose refugee policy allowed them to escape war-torn Syria.
Afraa and Muhammad Bilan arrived in Canada in February last year, in order to start a new life in a completely new country.
Originally from Damascus in Syria, they, daughter Naya and son Nael arrived as refugees in Montreal in the depths of winter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wasn’t there to greet them at the airport, as he did with other Syrian refugees. But the couple felt they had to give their thanks to him in some way – so have named their newborn son after him.
Justin Trudeau Adam Bilan was born on Thursday in his parents’ new city of Calgary, the BBC reported.
“We love this man, we appreciate him,” said Afraa Bilan. “He helped a lot of refugees. He’s the reason we are in Canada.”
In Damascus, Bilan, now 29, worked as a barber. But he had once been targeted by the Syrian army and detained.
Bilan said that it was hard to adjust to life in Canada at first because of the cold weather, and because they did not know a lot of English. However, they are thankful to be here, she said, and happy to welcome their first Canadian son.
“He’s the first Canadian,” she said. “He got his citizenship before us!”
They hope one day their son Justin Trudeau will get to meet his namesake.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s refugee policy has led to the resettlement of more than 40,000 refugees in Canada since Nov. 4, 2015, the Government of Canada website says.