Commentary

My maternal grandfather emigrated to Canada from Galicia (western Ukraine) during World War I. Although ethically Ukrainian, his passport listed him as a citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the very same with which Canada was at war then. As a consequence, he was deemed a national security threat and shipped off to an internment camp (or so my aunt told me—I cannot find his name among the official records). Nevertheless, more than 8,000 Ukrainians were sent to these camps between 1914 and 1920.

In other words, the government of the day saw my grandfather as a person to keep an eye on. That government took security seriously.

We are a nation of immigrants (yes, that includes the First Nations who came here thousands of years ago). We brag of that fact, wearing it as a badge of honor over our hearts. “Come to Canada! We take anyone.”

This open-door policy normally serves us well, but has a catch to it, namely the need to ensure that those we welcome do not pose a menace to our national security or public safety. To help the government in that task, my colleagues at the Canadian Security Intelligence Agency (CSIS) play a huge role in doing background checks, collecting and analyzing intelligence, and advising the government when they come across someone whom we should not roll out the red carpet for.

I realize that CSIS is an advisory body and does not make any actual decisions when it comes to immigration, but what is going on when fully half the cases flagged by CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) as security risks are allowed entry into Canada anyway?

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This issue is now rearing its head once again, this time with respect to Gaza. The government announced that it had elevated the number of refugees it wants to bring here “temporarily” to 5,000 (up from an earlier goal of 1,000); this figure is in truth higher, as family size is not part of the equation.
Most Canadians, I imagine, would be OK with bringing some Gazan Palestinians here, given the conditions under which they are living thanks to the Israel-Hamas war (but let us never forget that the hostilities were begun by Hamas last Oct. 7 when they carried out a cowardly attack in southern Israel, killing more than 1,200 civilians and taking another 250 hostage). However, each and every one must go through a thorough security check. Why? It is simple: Hamas, a listed terrorist entity in Canada, runs Gaza, and according to a recent poll, support for the group is more than 50 percent in Gaza.
Unless CSIS and CBSA are allowed the time necessary to do their mandated jobs and their findings are taken seriously, Canada runs two risks:

  • Those allowed to come here may include Hamas (or Palestinian Islamic Jihad—also a listed terrorist entity) members/wannabes and some of those could plan and/or execute a terrorist attack here, and;
  • Once here, they will be impossible to send back even if they pose a threat (Canada has a woeful record of removing terrorists who have made it to our shores and I cannot imagine this government having the fortitude to punt them, unlike our friends in Germany ).

Canada should remain a haven for those fleeing persecution or who want to make a new home—and contribution—here. What we cannot allow is for even one of them to end up killing someone in the name of their bankrupt Islamist ideology. One death is one too many and will only feed the belief among some that immigration is wrong.

This is my advice to the government: Listen to what CSIS and the CBSA are telling you and take the appropriate action.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.