Saskatoon

Calgary mayor criticizes Premier Brad Wall's Syria comments

Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi is criticizing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall's comments on Syrian refugees.

Mayor makes comments on CBC Radio program

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi speaks to reporters about Syrian refugees on Monday, Nov. 16, 2015. (CBC)

Mayor of Calgary Naheed Nenshi is criticizing Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall's comments on Syrian refugees.

Earlier this week, Wall wrote a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking that he suspend plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into the country by the year end. Wall wanted the federal government to redouble security checks on incoming refugees in the wake of the recent attacks in Paris before bringing refugees over.

"The problem is, that he ran to a solution which is exactly the same as the solution that he's criticizing, saying zero refugees by Christmas is exactly the same as saying 25,000 refugees by Christmas," said Nenshi. "It's looking at the wrong thing."

While Nenshi said he didn't want to minimize people's concerns, he said it would make more sense to take a closer look at refugee security screening and policy, rather than focus on the number of people coming in.

"The right answer is to look at the system," he said. "Make sure the system is as efficient as possible, and ticks the boxes that it needs to tick, and then start processing people as quickly as you can."

Nenshi made the comments on CBC Radio's Alberta At Noon yesterday.

At the same time, Nenshi said Wall raised "a number of really important, legitimate questions" in his letter to Trudeau.

The Calgary mayor also addressed what he described as a "manufactured controversy" that he said exists "more on social media than anywhere else" when it comes to perceived security concerns related to refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Nenshi noted the identified attackers were French and Belgian citizens and said refugees do not pose the type of terrorist threat that some people are suggesting on social media.

Here's an excerpt of the interview:

Calgary is currently preparing to take in 2,300 Syrian refugees.

The prime minister has not been swayed by the controversy, promising to bring the refugees in by the end of the year.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story reported that Mayor Naheed Nenshi had called Premier Brad Wall's comments a 'manufactured controversy.' The Mayor was referring to online comments in the comment.
    Nov 19, 2015 8:44 AM CT

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