Hussen will take over the ministry from John McCallum, a veteran Liberal MP who is moving to be the country’s ambassador to China. Under McCallum’s leadership, Canada took in nearly 40,000 Syrian refugees.

Hussen is well aware of the challenges refugees face when they land in Canada. As a young refugee waiting for papers, a backlog in applications meant that Hussen couldn’t get a student loan to attend university. Later on, after graduating and working in local politics, he took his activism to help secure a multi-million dollar housing revitalization plan for the community in the Regent Park neighborhood in Toronto where he lived.

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