REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall wants the federal government to suspend its plan to bring in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year.
Wall says in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that he is concerned about fast-tracking refugee claims.
He says doing so could severely undermine refugee screening.
“I am asking you to suspend your current plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of the year and to re-evaluate this goal and the processes in place to achieve it,” Wall says in the letter.
The premier says Friday’s attacks in Paris are a grim reminder of “the death and destruction even a small number of malevolent individuals can inflict upon a peaceful country and its citizens.”
“Surely we do not want to be date-driven or numbers-driven in an endeavour that may affect the safety of our citizens and the security of our country.”
Wall says Trudeau’s desire to help refugees that pose no threat to anyone is “noble” and he realizes the refugee plan was promised by the Liberals in the federal election.
But he believes Canadians will understand if it is put on hold in the interests of security.
On the weekend, Wall came out in support of continuing air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Trudeau told his fellow G20 leaders meeting in Turkey on the weekend that Canada will continue to make a strong military contribution in the fight against Islamic militants — but it won’t be from the air.
That’s an election commitment Trudeau made to withdraw Canada’s six CF-18 fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition attacking targets in Iraq and Syria.
Several U.S. governors are threatening to halt efforts to allow Syrian refugees into their states in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, and at least one is asking the White House for more information on plans to allow refugees into the country.
The governors are responding to heightened concerns that terrorists might use the refugee process as cover to sneak across borders.
One of the attackers in Paris had a Syrian passport, and the Paris prosecutors’ office says fingerprints from the attacker match those of someone who passed through Greece in October.