Daphne Bramham: Canada’s commitment to 25,000 refugees must be met
To defer it would be letting the terrorists win
Concern about who Canada lets in as part of its commitment to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees here by year’s end rose after one of the terrorists in last week’s attacks in Paris apparently had a fake Syrian passport that he used to enter Europe.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and other federal Conservatives have called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to suspend his plan.
No one wants to import terrorists, probably least of all the nascent Liberal government. So it is reasonable to wonder whether Canada is doing, or will do, enough to ensure that.
But what Canada is proposing is different from the situation imposed on Western European countries with 700,000 Syrians and others flooding their borders to escape both armed conflict and horrible economies in their homelands.
What’s been muddled ever since Alan Kurdi’s tiny body was photographed on a Turkish beach is that there are two distinct groups of people that Canada (and other countries) accept. There are refugees and asylum-seekers, two very different categories created by the 1951 United Nations’ Refugee Convention.
A refugee is someone who “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”
As of Nov. 3, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees had registered 4,287,293 Syrians who meet that definition.