• Mikhail Morris

Should Canada Turn Away Single, Straight Male Refugees?

Recently, the new federal government released their full plan regarding Syrian refugees to the public, and while it’s largely consistent with what was promised during Mr. Trudeau’s campaign, there are some noteworthy concerns to be had.

The first and perhaps most sensational headline is that Canada will not meet its promise of accepting 25 000 refugees by the end of the calendar year, instead scaling back the target number to 10 000. It’s an understandable compromise, as only slightly less than a month remains until 2016, and the total number of refugees accepted will not change. The government instead plans to reach the 25 000 refugee goal by March 2016, a more realistic deadline.

However, controversy also presides in the plan’s stipulations of who will be accepted into Canada. Only women, children, families, and gay men will be welcomed; no single, straight males will be included in the refugees Canada takes in. Whether or not this is just for the first 25 000 or for the entirety of the refugees Canada takes in is unclear, but regardless, it seems like a strange policy. Yes, single men are the most likely demographic to be members of terrorist organizations, I don’t think anybody would argue against that, but concerns that any refugees are actually masquerading terrorists aren’t really based in reality. The security screenings and other processes one must go to in order to gain refugee status and enter a western country are so rigorous and time-consuming that any terrorist would be crazy to try and go through them.

They’d nearly certainly be caught, and they’d have to have been waiting in a refugee camp for months already. If ISIS wanted to launch an attack in Canada, sending someone to do so via the refugee process would be the worst possible method they could choose.

Now, if this policy of banning heterosexual single men from the refugee process is only for the initial wave, then that makes at least a bit of sense. The first refugees coming should be those who are most vulnerable, which of course includes children, women, and families. However, if Canada has no plans to ever accept male refugees, then it’s a different story entirely. Not only is that blatant gender and sexual-orientation-based discrimination, but it also represents the kind of fear mongering and xenophobia the country hoped to avoid by electing a Liberal government.

None of the potential refugees that Canada would accept, regardless of gender, age, religion, or sexual orientation, pose a real threat to Canadian security, and us turning away people in desperate need of help is exactly the goal of the oppressive regimes these people are trying to escape.