Sask. Premier Brad Wall asks Ottawa to suspend Syrian refugee plan

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, warning that the Paris attacks are a "grim reminder" of the threat that can be posed by a few "malevolent individuals."

Paris attacks a 'grim reminder' of threat posed by 'malevolent individuals,' premier says

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is calling on the government to rethink its plans to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year 7:55

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."

"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."

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.

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Brad Wall weighs in on refugees

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.