Syed Adam Ahmed's mother encouraged by government response to son, 6, on no-fly list

The mother of a shy, hockey-loving boy who found himself on a no-fly list says she was "very pleased" to hear from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale about her son's case.

Minister reached out to family quickly, woman tells CBC

Khadija Cajee, the mother of a six-year-old flagged as a travel risk, says she has yet to hear back from Air Canada about her son's situation. (CBC)

The mother of a shy, hockey-loving boy who found himself on a no-fly list says she was "very pleased" to hear from Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale about her son's case. 

In her first interview with CBC since being contacted by Goodale, the woman expressed gratitude to the government for stepping in quickly to address the family's concerns.

"We received an email from him directly, as well, so that was very encouraging," Khadija Cajee, the mother of Syed Adam Ahmed, the six-year-old boy who has been flagged as a travel risk ever since he was a toddler. 

"To hear how quickly he actually escalated the issue to his staff and got them to start investigating right away … that was very nice to hear."

Goodale spoke with Rosemary Barton on CBC's Power & Politics to discuss the case involving the young boy and said the government shares the family's concern.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told CBC's Power & Politics the government has told airlines not to wave red flags with respect to travelling minors. (CBC)

"[It's] no fault of their own," Goodale said, adding that having a similar name to someone on the no-fly list "can present an awkward situation" and "a feeling of stigma."

The minister noted the government will do what is necessary to keep Canadians safe while respecting the freedoms and values of the country.

"The first step we took was to inform the airlines again about the nature of regulations that are currently in place" to ensure airlines "do not throw up the red flags with respect to minors."

Airlines 'ignoring a directive'

Goodale made it clear that secondary checks are not necessary for those under the age of 18.

"The regulations do not require that, we've emphasized that with the airlines."

Cajee said airlines have already been under a directive not to screen children under 18 but continue to do so. 

"They've been ignoring a directive from the government not to screen minors," the mother said.

Syed Adam Ahmed, 6, has trouble travelling because his name happens to appear on the Deemed High Profile list, his parents say. (CBC)
"They've been doing it anyway and that I find a little problematic. In this sense, we do depend on our government … to comply with the directive."

Goodale said airlines may have just been going beyond what they were required to do but noted "the person who is dangerous here is the person who is named on the no-fly list, not the two-year-old child, or the six-year-old, who's trying to get to the hockey game in Boston."

He added: "The regulations that we're dealing with are the regulations that were in place under the Harper government."

The mother added that she reached out to Air Canada privately, as the airline asked when the issue came up, but says she has yet to hear back. 

"We have had zero communication," she said. "We have not heard back [from Air Canada] ... I find it surprising."

    With files from Shannon Martin


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