A shocking response from the government on an access to information request about Syrian refugees leads me to ask: is the government playing games with our safety or games with the media?
We’ve been assured time and again that there’s no need for concern on the refugee file on the question of security because the government takes this issue very seriously. Both Ralph Goodale and John McCallum told us this early on.
We’ve been promised that the government collects bio-metric data on these refugees, conducts extensive screenings, asks tough questions.
We wanted to know more so we submitted an access to information request asking about the questionnaire. The response was shocking. It said there is no form and no questionnaire.
But, there has to be a form, a questionnaire or something because we know how the government operates and because top bureaucrats from the department told us so.
Recall my question to McCallum about why the government doesn't track ethnic and religious minorities fleeing persecution in Syria. McCallum's answer was weak but what I couldn't show you was that in the background briefing with department officials, one that we can’t broadcast but can quote, a top department official told me that they simply cannot track religious or ethnic minorities fleeing persecution because their system has no place to put that information.
Doesn’t that mean they use specific data entry fields yet they say there isn't one?
So what’s going on here? Are they lying to us? Playing word games? Is it a form and not a questionnaire? Do they think they can get away with that?
What are they trying to hide?
We don’t know yet but one way or another, we’ll get to the bottom of this and find the answers because we believe Canadians deserve to know how this highly political and sensitive file is being handled.
If you appreciate the work that we do, please consider making a donation. Even a small one would help. We submit a lot of access to information requests which cost us about $5,000 per month. If you can support us in this in any way, we would appreciate it.
You can also sign our petition at RefugeePause.ca to add your voice to those who say the safety and security of Canadians must come first.
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