PARLIAMENT HILL, Ottawa—Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had a blunt message for would-be immigrants who don’t share fundamental Canadian values: Don’t come.
Kenney paused to speak with reporters after testifying at the parliamentary immigration committee Thursday morning.
The government was already working with police agencies and cultural groups to identify problem individuals before they go too far down the wrong path, he said. That work was facilitated through cooperation of agencies like CSIS and the RCMP along with cultural communities.
“There are a lot of stories that you don’t hear about, that don’t become public where people in certain communities will inform the RCMP that something is going on,” he said.
When made aware, the RCMP can contact the family of someone being radicalized and possibly involve a spiritual leader.
Though the government would do everything it could, Kenney said, “at the end of the day we can’t completely prevent the process of radicalization.”
That did not make immigrants from certain areas in the world any less welcome, however.
“We are an open country. The questions is how do we govern our openness in a way that minimizes risk to Canada’s national security. … We are not going to make up blacklists of countries from which people cannot come to Canada.”
He said Canada was already doing a good job of screening immigrants for possible radicals but would do a better job with biometrics, electronic travel documentation, and information sharing agreements.
He also dismissed political correctness that prevents people, including Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, from acknowledging the threat some people pose to Canada’s national security and core values.
Kenney said some people come to Canada believing certain “barbaric cultural practices” are justifiable.
“Part of of the problem has been a misunderstanding of the whole idea of multiculturalism. Some people have misinterpreted multiculturalism as a kind of cultural relativism which justifies even the most aberrant cultural practices which are clearly contrary to our democratic values.”
Kenney said that was why the government was using strong language to condemn certain cultural practices and being clear that people who view the West as their enemy are not welcome in Canada.
“If they hate the very values upon which Canada is based, please don’t come here, and please don’t bring your hatred to Canada. That is the message we are sending.”
Kenney’s comments come after police arrested Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier Monday for allegedly plotting to derail a train travelling between Toronto and New York in what the RCMP described as an al Qaeda-inspired plan.
Esseghaier told a Toronto court Wednesday that the criminal code was not a holy book and therefore findings based on the code were unreliable.