Statement on Syrian Refugees

November 16, 2015

My office has heard a great deal from members of the community over the past few days on the issue of Syrian refugees and the recent news of targets being set for Red Deer.

I have heard the concerns of my constituents and that is why I steadfastly believe that the safety of Canadians needs to be the most important consideration moving forward. Under the previous Conservative Government, we had set up a rigorous security program to vet potential refugees before they came to Canada. As the Official Opposition we are strongly urging the new Government to ensure this practice is strictly followed.

It is clear that the process currently being carried out is being driven by a desire to fulfill a political promise. We need to pay attention to the seriousness of the situation and not overburden our organizations tasked with settlement by insisting on unrealistic deadlines and targets chosen arbitrarily. Insufficient screening is not in the best interest of Canadians and certainly not in the best interest of the legitimate refugees we are resettling.

In addition, I must stress that we cannot sit on the sidelines while the rest of our allies fight against ISIL in Syria and Iraq. Our party has been quite clear that any humanitarian contributions must be coupled with military support. This is why we are calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to reverse his decision to withdraw Canadian fighter jets from participating in coalition airstrikes against ISIL.

We, as Canadians, will do as we have always done. For those Syrian refugees who have been properly and thoroughly screened and are simply looking for safe refuge - we will welcome them until such a time as they join our Canadian family or are able to return to their homes.

Once again I would like to thank you for your interest on this incredibly important issue. I would also suggest that you forward your concerns to the new Minister of Immigration John McCallum at 613-954-1064 or via email at Minister@cic.gc.ca and the Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale at 306-585-2202 or ralph.goodale@parl.gc.ca.