Canada’s public safety minister says his government will take great care to ensure Syrian refugees are properly vetted before they are allowed to enter the country over the next several months, but no system is perfect.
Ralph Goodale acknowledged that reports that one of the Paris attackers was found with a Syrian passport are cause for concern.
“A key part of (accepting refugees) is to ensure that the appropriate security checks are done,” Goodale told The West Block’s Tom Clark, pointing out that it is difficult to compare the French example to Canada as European nations are facing an “ad hoc, chaotic” situation that has overwhelmed their system.
“We will not compromise on the security investigations,” he said. “Can we guarantee 100 per cent perfection? Is it absolutely foolproof? Nothing in life is 100 per cent.”
Asked what would become of refugees who cannot show the proper documentation because of the chaos in their own countries, Goodale said the Canadian government will investigate “all the background material” available on each individual.
“And perhaps the absence of papers is a reason to say ‘We can’t process that one right now,’” he said.
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Goodale said there has been no indication that any of the attackers in Paris had links to Canada, or that any Canadians were harmed in the co-ordinated attacks, which as of Sunday, had killed 129 people.
All of the normal security protocols “clicked into place” in Canada after the attacks, Goodale said.
“All the checks were done and they continue to be done and there appears to be no connection to Canada … but we remain vigilant.”
As for nations that are still supporting terrorist organizations, financially or otherwise, Goodale said it will be up to the international community to hold them to account.
“Obviously that’s an issue of international diplomacy … the whole world has to seriously shoulder their responsibilities in dealing with a very serious situation.”