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George Petrolekas's picture
Evidence or Emotion?
Posted on Sep 18, 2015
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Both opposition leaders speak of evidence-based policy, and they are right to say that.  But equally, they should refrain from fallling into the trap of emotions-based policy – which is what we risk falling into now.
There is no doubt that in bringing refugees to Canada, we can improve, streamline, expedite shorten security checks, but we absolutely cannot dispense with them. Its not just about the risk that refugees are infliltrated with the unsavoury – that risk exists with anyone coming to Canada from anyplace, not just Syria – it is about prudent policy. Just as we didn't want former Nazis fleeing here from the post WWII migrations, so too do we not want to risk sheltering people who have blood on their hands, as has happened from Rwanda for example.  That is in our self interest.
But there is another strategic reason to ensure we follow basic standards, even truncated ones, and that is the reassurance we have to be able to give to our American allies. This does not mean that U.S. policy dictates Canadian policy – not at all – but from time to time there is a perception in certain U.S. circles that Canada represents an open back door into the United States. When those sentiments gain traction, it affects trade as the U.S. piles on additional security checks or procedures which slow down the movement of goods, services and people across the border.
If the economy is the number one issue in this election, then the U.S. border must also be a key consideration.  $2B a day and 400,000 people cross our border on a daily basis.  This two-way trade eclipses U.S. exports to China, Japan, Korea and Singapore combined.
And so, yes, bring as many refugees as we can sustain, and quickly. But do not bypass security checks – which are good policy, both from a security standpoint and an economic one.

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