October 12th, 2017

Religious screening of asylum seekers deeply troubling: NDP

OTTAWA – The NDP is demanding answers from the Liberal government regarding the use of a questionnaire employed by the RCMP at a border crossing point for asylum seekers which has the makings of a religious values test.

“The number of times someone prays should have no bearing on their refugee status. That is not who we are,” said Jenny Kwan, NDP Critic for Immigration and Refugees. “It is deeply troubling that this test appears to single out Muslim asylum seekers, who themselves have been targeted by discriminatory policies out of the US.”

The crossing at Roxham Road in Quebec has seen a surge in asylum seekers entering Canada this year following anti-immigrant policies from the US including the travel ban targeting majority Muslims countries. New Democrats have been calling on the government to take a leadership role in providing resources and planning to the areas most impacted since the surge began.

“Canadians need to be assured that security measures are in place but this looks more like religious profiling,” said Matthew Dubé, the NDP's Public Safety Critic. “Either the Minister was aware this was taking place and did nothing or he doesn’t have a handle on what practices are being used.”

New Democrats are demanding Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, detail the approval process for a questionnaire of this kind.