Ottawa pursuing an incompetent, dangerous policy

Canada should call a moratorium on immigration

Diane Francis Financial Post Tuesday, January 04, 2000

Times Square and the Seattle Space Needle did not blow up on New Year’s Eve, no thanks to Canada’s embarrassing, sieve-like and dangerous immigration and refugee system.

On Sept. 23, 1997, in my Financial Post column, I broke the story that dozens of Algerian terrorists were living in Montreal, some of whom are now implicated in a suspected plot to blow up high-profile targets in the United States.

This is why there must be a public hearing into this matter.

My 1997 column began: “This has not been published anywhere else in Canada, but at least two dozen Algerian terrorists have been allowed to immigrate to Quebec, a source in France told me in a recent interview.”

” ‘These are very dangerous people and they have been hiding in Montreal for some months,’ he added. Canadian police authorities know about their arrival and are monitoring their activities.

“Several thousand Algerians have been admitted into Quebec in recent years, given preference because they are francophone. Quebec wants French-speaking immigrants.”

My European sources were shocked that Canada allowed these people in and cautioned against writing the story. But it was in the public interest to publish. So why wasn’t anything done by authorities to protect Canadians?

How did these people get in for starters?

Why, if warned, did officials allow them to stay? Some even had warrants out for their arrests.

What kind of monitoring of their activities could have been in place when one was caught with massive explosives almost by accident?

What other shenanigans have these people been up to? Does anyone know?

How many more got in after my story was published?

The latest scandal involved the arrest of suspected Algerian terrorist Ahmed Ressam on Dec. 14, who was caught bringing explosives into Port Angeles, Wash. His arrest was quickly followed by the apprehension of Lucia Garofalo. She is accused of helping other Algerians illegally get into the U.S. via Vermont, as part of a link to a terrorist “nexus” in Montreal.

Other Algerians were arrested in the U.S. as possible accomplices; one was connected to Mr. Ressam through phone records and is charged with conspiracy to traffic in fraudulent credit and bank cards. (Terrorists typically indulge in crime to raise money for explosives.)

Mr. Ressam, of Montreal, is believed by U.S. police to be part of “a well organized group” that had assigned him to deliver his rental car, loaded with explosives, to a parking lot in Seattle, where it would be retrieved by another member of the group.

The source also told the FBI that these terrorists believed that “Allah will shake up this world, that a new generation will punish America, and that Islam’s renaissance will rise from Algeria.”

Via Canada, apparently.

Mr. Ressam is pure trash who should have been booted out years ago.

He was convicted of theft but was not deported and got a Canadian passport by forging a baptismal certificate, which is required to get a passport in Quebec. These documents are easily forged and a visit to any parish archives can yield a dozen identities for copying. That’s what happens when you let a second-rate province have a say in immigration policies. Only Quebec allows this nonsense.

It’s been obvious for years to those of us who understand Canada’s silly system that the country is way over its head, and its naive and reckless system has cost Canadians plenty in terms of dollars, misery and reputation.

Until this country has a decent followup capability we should not be accepting the numbers of immigrants and refugees we have been accepting. Until this country has a proper means of screening people, deporting people and controlling the numbers based on economic need, there should be a complete moratorium on immigration.

Real refugees should be sheltered, but bogus ones should not — especially when they are opportunists advised by sleazy Canadian immigration lawyers or accomplices on how to get around the system.

Immigration Canada has not done anything properly. Never mind the needless burden on our health care system of bringing in 200,000 elderly in a decade allegedly “sponsored” by their loved ones.

Widespread scamming is disheartening enough, but police warnings about terrorists and crooks have fallen on deaf ears.


Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan

Little wonder, since our reality-challenged prime minister takes advice from his new immigration minister, Elinor Caplan, who denies that she has a conflict of interest even though her brother-in-law made a fortune as an immigration lawyer until becoming a judge a year ago. She should resign immediately for fiercely defending the current system.

Immigration and refugee policies in Canada are no longer just a joke. They are life-threatening to Canadians and to the rest of the world.

Good immigration is good for a country. What we have is a disgrace run by incompetents.


Diane Francis can be reached by e-mail at