Conservatives call for audit of immigration system after gangster twice released in Canada

His case should not have fallen through the cracks, suggesting communications issues between CBSA and the IRB, particularly in terms of timeliness. While in the end, the system did work, the issues should have been caught and acted upon earlier.

But it is somewhat ingenuous for Conservative immigration critic to state that the Liberal government is undermining public confidence in the immigration system while ignoring the contribution that some of her over-the-top language and positions (e.g., opposition to the Global Compact on Migration) also play. Fine line between legitimate criticism and stoking the fires:

Abdullahi Hashi Farah had an extensive criminal record, ties to a violent gang, and a long history of breaching probation. But Canadian immigration officials still released him after he crossed illegally into Canada in October 2017. (Supplied)

Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel is again calling for a complete review and audit of the immigration screening system in response to a CBC News investigation that revealed a Somali gang member with an extensive criminal record was twice released in Canada.

“The government has to acknowledge that there are serious flaws in the process and commit to fixing the system,” the Calgary MP said in a telephone interview Thursday.

In an earlier scrum outside the House of Commons, Border Security Minister Bill Blair was asked about the case of Abdullahi Hashi Farah.

Blair conceded Farah would not have been released had the full extent of his gang ties and criminal record been known. But he said he took “some comfort in the fact that the system has worked and we’ve identified the individual, and he is subject to deportation.”

Rempel said Blair’s response will only serve to further undermine public faith in the system.

‘This is pretty bad’

“People will read [the CBC News story] and they will look at the minister’s response and go, ‘This is somebody who is not taking this situation seriously, and it is a serious situation,’ ” Rempel said.

“And I worry that by doing this, the Liberals are actually eroding public confidence writ large. And that is not where we want to be in a pluralism like Canada. They need to restore order to the system. This [case] is pretty bad.”

As CBC News first reported Thursday, Farah was fleeing an arrest warrant and deportation in the U.S. when he crossed illegally into Canada at Emerson, Man., in late October 2017.

Then 27, Farah told Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials about his criminal record and gang ties. The agency wanted him held for a few more days until it could retrieve his full criminal record from the U.S.

But an Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing officer, impressed with Farah’s seeming honesty, ordered his release.

As a condition of release, Farah surrendered his cellphone to the CBSA so that it could be checked for evidence of criminal activity

Six days after Farah was set free in Winnipeg, he breached his release conditions and was arrested again.

That same day, the CBSA gained access to Farah’s cellphone. They found recent photos and videos of Farah playing with loaded handguns, doing cocaine, concealing cocaine, and flashing wads of cash. There were also photos of what authorities believed was a stolen credit card.

Released despite evidence of criminal activity

The CBSA has declined to explain why the evidence from Farah’s cellphone was not immediately provided to the IRB.

Without that evidence, another IRB hearing officer again released Farah in March 2018 and allowed him to move to Calgary.

In June, Edmonton police arrested Farah as a suspect in a string of armed convenience store robberies after a CBSA officer in Winnipeg picked him out of robbery photos taken from store security camera footage.

Edmonton police have declined to say why Farah is no longer a suspect in the robberies. He is now jailed in the Edmonton Remand Centre, awaiting deportation to Somalia.

The CBC News investigation revealed Farah had lied repeatedly about the extent and seriousness of his criminal record and the length of his involvement with the Somali Outlaws gang in Minneapolis and Nashville.

The investigation also revealed Farah had breached immigration and parole conditions more than 30 times in the U.S and in Canada. He had also been imprisoned for contempt after he reneged on a promise to testify against his former gang in relation to a major sex-trafficking case in Nashville involving girls as young as 12.

Rempel stressed her party is pro-immigration but said this case, and others like it, show the system can’t handle the volume of immigrants while ensuring adequately rigorous screening.

“While certainly not every case is going to be like this, even one is unacceptable, and even one puts the integrity of the system — and the perception of the integrity of the system — at risk.”

Source: Conservatives call for audit of immigration system after gangster twice released in Canada

In this election year, it’s cop versus cop: Akin

Not so sure that the dynamics will be as clear cut as presented by Akin.

There is a range of views within the police community on approaches. The Conservative one-sided (and overly simplistic) approach that runs counter to most of the evidence may not come out as well as Conservative MPs hope:

“The focus on being tough on crime — and I’ve been tough on crime, personally — but I think the focus needs to be on preventing our kids from choosing a life of crime and I don’t think that focus has been there.”

Sajjan and Blair — should Blair win his nomination fight — will help boost the Liberal profile on public safety issues. And many Conservatives couldn’t be happier. They believe a voter thinking about law and order puts their ‘X’ beside the Conservative candidate on the ballot.

“I would be just delighted,” said Daryl Kramp, an eastern Ontario Conservative MP. Kramp is the chairman of the House of Commons Public Safety and Security committee and, before a long career as a businessman, spent some time as a constable with the OPP.

Kramp, in fact, is one of at least eight Conservative MPs, including two in cabinet, to have worn a police uniform.

And that thin blue line in the House of Commons exists only on the government side. Not a single opposition MP has a background as a police officer.

“We’ve been identified as the law-and-order party and now (Bill Blair) wants to join a party that has voted against just about every measure we’ve put forward,” Kramp said Monday.

Those measures include new laws to help victims of crime, increasing sentences for some crimes, removing some judicial discretion and giving more power and resources to police.

In this election year, it’s cop versus cop | AKIN | Columnists | Opinion | Toron.

Bill Blair wants to run for Liberals in fall election

Quite a coup, and interesting the public reasons for Blair choosing the Liberals over the Conservatives.

So while the Conservatives have Julian Fantino (also a former Toronto police chief) of veteran abuse fame , the Liberals have Bill Blair who, while not without controversies, talks the language of inclusion. Advantage Liberal:

The recruitment of Blair is a coup for Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and a boost for the Liberals in Toronto and across the country, given the profile of the former police chief, a senior party official told the Star.

“He’s an excellent community leader. He’s got a depth of experience I don’t think you would find anywhere else in the country,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

“We’re thrilled,” the official said.

In going with the Liberals, Blair rejected strong arm-twisting by the Conservatives to run with them, including personal overtures by senior cabinet ministers, a source said. Blair declined to comment, saying only that he had “respectful discussions” with a “number of people.”

“I was asked to consider a number of different options for the future,” he said. “I’ve made my choice and for me, it’s a values-based choice.”

Blair says his decision was cemented in personal discussions with Trudeau. It was influenced, too, by a major speech the Liberal leader gave in March that laid out a vision for liberty and diversity in Canada while condemning the Tories for a “corrosive” style of politics.

“It really for me articulated some of the things I really believe in and the things that I think make communities safer and more livable,” Blair said.

“In my conversations with Mr. Trudeau, I felt there was a tremendous alignment in our values,” Blair said.

In his speech, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of deliberately stoking terror worries among Canadians, warning “fear is a dangerous thing.”

Blair picked up on the theme saying that the “great threat to public safety is fear.”

“I understand the very real threat that terrorism presents to Canadian society and I think we’ve got to do everything we can to fight extremism and violence,” he said.

But he said that the communities impacted by radicalization cannot be further isolated as part of that terror fight.

“Their help is critically important. I would not in any way further alienate them or isolate them. I would want to include them in the solution,” he said.

Bill Blair wants to run for Liberals in fall election | Toronto Star.

Blair urges officers to reach across cultural divisions in parting words as police chief

Despite all the controversies (G20, carding etc), good parting words on inclusion:

In his parting words as police chief, Bill Blair asked officers to reach across cultural divisions – including, perhaps, those that separate them from civilians.

“More than half the citizens of our city have chosen to come here,” Chief Blair, two days before ending his 10-year term, told hundreds of top-ranking Toronto Police Service officers at his retirement gala dinner on Thursday.

“The reason they’ve chosen to come here is because this is a place of inclusion,” he said. “It’s more than merely tolerance… it is an example to the world.”

Chief Blair was appointed in April 2005, the youngest-ever Toronto police chief at the time. After a career partly spent walking a beat in Regent Park, his term was marked by breaks with tradition. On the day of his appointment, he acknowledged publicly that racial profiling existed within the force. He went on to heavily recruit women and members of ethnic minorities.

Ten years later, Chief Blair is ending his policing career amid criticism related to racial profiling, as well as much praise over his wider work as chief. One of his last acts as chief was to negotiate future terms for a policy that has long angered Toronto’s black communities–“carding,” in which officers stop and question people who aren’t suspected of a crime.

He has said repeatedly that the practice, which many critics would like to see abolished, is a useful public safety tool.

But in Thursday’s speech, he also asked officers in general terms to understand others’ perspectives.

“Let us all be careful,” he said. “Let us be careful that we do not succumb to…those forces, that would divide us, those forces which would separate us, those forces that would make us afraid of each other.

“Let us always be careful to return to each other, to support each other, and to be that place of social cohesion and inclusion that we should all aspire to be,” he said. “Because that’s what makes the city of Toronto, the country of Canada, an extraordinary place.”

More should follow this example.

Blair urges officers to reach across cultural divisions in parting words as police chief – The Globe and Mail.