Justin Trudeau’s fast-tracked Syrian refugee program may not have conducted proper background checks in some cases, a government memo obtained by the Toronto Sun reveals.
The memo — dated November 2015 and compiled by civil servants in the department of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) — raises serious questions about the screening and vetting Syrian refugees received before coming to Canada.
While the Trudeau government has maintained that proper screening precautions and security checks were taken, information in the memo suggests otherwise.
The document reveals that Syrian refugees were issued government documents that included “misspellings, incorrect DOBs (date of births) and gender.”
This calls into question the thoroughness of the background checks conducted by the Trudeau government. Without vital information about a person, including his or her full name — with correct spelling — date of birth and gender, a background check would be futile.
The fact that Syrian refugees were issued government documents with errors is deeply troubling.
The internal memo — obtained through an Access to Information request and shared with the Sun — was produced by non-partisan civil servants within the federal immigration department.
The memo was based on a forum held with participants from various local, provincial and federal government departments to discuss Trudeau’s 2015 election pledge to admit over 25,000 Syrian refugees in just a few short weeks.
The forum was held on Nov. 28-29, 2015, in Toronto, in the midst of the turmoil of trying to implement Trudeau’s ambitious political promise.
While the Liberal government eventually abandoned its initial eight-week target for Trudeau’s resettlement pledge — extending the timeline by two months to Feb. 29, 2016 — the memo describes the chaos and confusion felt by those on the ground who were scrambling to implement this partisan pledge.
“Participants noted that the ambitious target and timeline put enormous pressure on financial and human resources,” the memo reads.
While much of the feedback and recommendations from the forum amount to simply throwing more resources and more money to various government agencies for their refugee budgets, another recurring theme is clear: that Trudeau’s refugee timeline was totally unmanageable.
The memo concedes “the challenges of an ambitious scope, scale and timeline of Trudeau’s Syrian refugee scheme” and lists two pages of “areas of improvements and feedback for consideration.”
The recommendations include “increased advance planning,” “early clarification of the roles and responsibilities” and “contingency plans for unexpected events.”
The “unexpected events” included cancelled flights, medical issues and no shows.
Many experts have alleged that Trudeau’s decision to resettle 25,000 on a fast-tracked timeline was based not on what’s best for Canada, but on short-term thinking and partisan gain.
The memo notes that future refugee efforts “need to think longer term.”
Toronto Sun by Candice Malcolm
June 12 2017