Suggestions for the Syrian Refugee Initiative

The new Government has made it clear that it intends to proceed with its campaign promise to bring 25K Syrian refugees from the war torn region to Canada and that it will try and do so before the end of this year. An ambitious plan but then converting political promise into government action often is.

Here are a few suggestions that might help achieve that commitment in as safe and secure a fashion as possible.

  1. Don’t simply rely on the security screening by the United Nations champagne and caviar crew. Get our own security screening people onsite (CIC, CBSA, RCMP etc…) to interact with the local security people to try and determine exactly who the applicants are. The very nature of the past and ongoing, ever changing chaos will make this a difficult task but it’s worth the effort.
  2. There will likely be a delay between approval and departure so make sure we’ve got an identity verification process in place to ensure that the person (including family members) getting on the aircraft or boarding the ship was the person approved. These people are in incredibly vulnerable circumstances and surrounded by thugs and fanatics who know no limitations to get what they want.
  3. Provide appropriate security for the transportation to the aircraft or ship and make sure we control the screening and loading of any baggage.
  4. Prioritize the successful integration of these newcomers to Canada including by, wherever possible, proactively matching them to family or sponsors within Canada. Support that integration effort through after arrival activities like language training, education, credential recognition, sports, skills and job training and activities that are not confined to being centred around and shrouded in a religious environment. Successful integration into the wonderful, secular, free speech, democratic, gender equal and democratic society that we call Canada is the best assurance of success for us all.      

Scott Newark is a former Alberta Crown Prosecutor who also served as Executive Officer for the Canadian Police Association, Director of Operations for the DC based Investigative Project on Terrorism and as a Security Policy Advisor to both the Governments of Ontario and Canada