How can we be sure that Syrian refugees are not a security risk?

December 23, 2015

CARL applauds the Liberal government's new plan for private and government sponsorship for the resettlement of Syrian refugees. For years the Harper Conservatives dragged their feet and hid behind the myth that Syrian refugees are a security threat.

Canada brings in 265,000 refugees and immigrants per year. Plus tens of thousands of temporary visitors, students, and workers. That's over 2.5 million refugees and immigrants over the past ten years. Not one of them has been involved in a terrorist attack. Not one

Yet last year, the terror incidents in Ottawa and Québec were perpetuated by two Canadian born individuals. On the other hand, if you go to the hospital or need other emergency lifesaving services, the odds are pretty good that an immigrant or refugee will be among those attending to you.

At least three newly elected Parliamentarians are former refugees, who have been incredibly successful in contributing to Canada even prior to being elected. This includes Arif Virani, the new Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, and a former Ugandan refugee from the brutal dictatorship of Idi Amin. Prior to his election, Mr. Virani was Crown Counsel for the Ministry of the Attorney General, founded the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, and volunteered for numerous charitable organizations.  Mr. Virani is not an exception but the norm. Rather than pose a threat, refugees continually make the most of the opportunity Canada provides them by working hard to contribute and give back.  

What are the lessons from our history? 

1.     We can have confidence in our robust security screening. Experts who have spent time on the ground with Syrian refugees in Lebanon assure us that extensive security screening is not compromised by the effort to help more refugees more efficiently than before. Both the heads of the RCMP and CSIS have made that clear:  

2.     Unfortunately, in reality, given the resources available to terror groups, there are more direct means for them to attempt entry to Canada than through the rigorous and elongated overseas refugee process. This includes the use of fraudulent travel documentation or crossing via land borders; although we can be assured our security agencies are doing everything they can to minimize those risks as well.

3.     In the end, all communities have their Paul Bernardos or Hells Angels. Thankfully we also have our share of amazing, dedicated people who make Canada great. We do not want to return to the days where fear and mistrust dictate our policy; where we believed ‘No Jews are too many’, imposed a Chinese head tax, or detained Japanese Canadian families in concentration camps. Today we must be capable of distinguishing between the victims of terrorism and the perpetrators, even if some may share the same race, nationality, or religion.


If you would like to learn about how you can help with the current Syrian refugee crisis, we encourage you to access the following resources:

The Refugee Sponsorship Support Program:

Lifeline Syria: