Sask. Premier Brad Wall asks Ottawa to suspend Syrian refugee plan
Paris attacks a 'grim reminder' of threat posed by 'malevolent individuals,' premier says
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wants the federal government to suspend its plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year.
In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Wall said he was concerned bringing in refugees could "undermine the refugee screening process."
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"I understand that the overwhelming majority of refugees are fleeing violence and bloodshed and pose no threat to anyone," wrote Wall. "However, if even a small number of individuals who wish to do harm to our country are able to enter Canada as a result of a rushed refugee resettlement process, the results could be devastating."
In the letter, Wall cited the recent attacks in Paris last week, which killed 129 people.
"The recent attacks in Paris are a grim reminder of the death and destruction even a small number of malevolent individuals can inflict upon a peaceful country and its citizens," wrote Wall. "Surely, we do not want to be date-driven or numbers-driven in an endeavour that may affect the safety of our citizens and the security of our country."
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Wall said he wants to see a "redoubling" of security checks before the refugees are brought into Canada.
Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Opposition leader Cam Broten accused Wall of "stirring up fear."
"Does Mr. Wall really think Ralph Goodale and the Canadian security authorities were just going to rubber stamp refugee claims without proper security checks?" wrote Broten in a news release. "Canada should have the best, most thorough security screening of all potential refugees, and we will."
Local agencies in Saskatchewan are preparing for the arrival of 2,000 refugees by Dec. 31.
In September, Saskatchewan asked the federal government to increase the number of refugees coming to Saskatchewan by 15 per cent.
SK can support more refugees. As a people & govt we will do our part for those fleeing war, tyranny for safe asylum: <a href="https://t.co/tzfdPPwdMw">https://t.co/tzfdPPwdMw</a>—@PremierBradWall
Trudeau made the Syrian refugee announcement a key part of his election campaign. Health Minister Jane Philpott said more details on the plan would be released next week.
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