Saskatchewan

Delaying refugee plan might scuttle it entirely: Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is reacting to calls by some — including Premier Brad Wall — to suspend plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of the year.

Bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by end of year can be done safely, minister says

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says delaying plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year would likely "put the whole objective in jeopardy." (Susan Mas/CBC)

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale is reacting to calls by some — including Premier Brad Wall — to suspend plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of the year.

Earlier this week, in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks, Wall outlined concerns he has about security risks if Ottawa's plan proceeds too hastily.

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

The concern is that people who wish to do harm to Canadians could slip in amid the rush of genuine refugees, Wall said.

Saskatchewan's part of the plan could bring 2,000 Syrians to the province.

Quite frankly, the loss of momentum [if the refugee plan is delayed] would probably put the whole objective in jeopardy. The slippage might mean it never happens.- Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

Wall wants to see a "redoubling" of security checks before the refugees are brought into Canada and doesn't think it should be tied to a specific date.

However, Goodale, who represents Wascana-Regina, told CBC's The Morning Edition the federal government is following a thorough screening process. He said he believes it's achievable in the timeframe given and that it can be done safely.

"In addition to the screening and streaming done by the United Nations, there will be layers of our own Canadian security and health checking that will go on," Goodale said.

The screening plan is being developed with input from the departments of immigration, public safety, national defence, the Canada Border Services Agency, the RCMP and CSIS, he explained.

"There are the world's best experts working on this," he said.

Goodale says 10,000 refugees have already been cleared by the United Nations. Characteristics such as risk, health, and ability to resettle in Canada are all being considered.

Hitting the pause button now would be a mistake, Goodale said.

"Quite frankly, the loss of momentum would probably put the whole objective in jeopardy," Goodale said. "The slippage might mean it never happens."

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