RISK: Saskatchewan premier calls for feds to suspend Syrian refugee plan

U.S. officials believe it's only a matter of time before the Islamic State attacks North America

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is urging Justin Trudeau to suspend his plan to bring in 25,000 Syrians refugees by the end of the year.

The Paris attacks show Canada shouldn’t rush screening of Syrian refugees and risk allowing a terrorist inside Canadian borders, he says.

Read: Canada’s lack of TRIA

U.S. officials believe it’s only a matter of time before the Islamic State launches an attack on North American soil.

“I certainly would not consider [the attacks] a one-off event,” CIA Director John Brennan said Monday. “It is clear to me that ISIL has an external agenda, that they are determined to carry out these types of attacks… it’s not just Europe. I think we here in the United States also have to be obviously quite vigilant.”

In contrast to Al Qaida, which carefully selected symbolically significant targets with an eye toward creating maximum death tolls, the Paris attackers went after soft targets–a concert venue, stadium and restaurants–that are notoriously difficult to safeguard.

Read: UK officials say number of terrorism arrests at record high this year

Analysts note that the U.S. is better positioned to thwart such an effort, equipped with a significantly more robust intelligence capacity than its European allies, and a Muslim population that is far less alienated than those of France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

“We are better off because we spent this money and we have created these programs, and panic is absolutely not the right response,” Daniel Benjamin, a former Obama administration counterterrorism official says, noting that the U.S. spends $47 billion a year on homeland security, compared with tens of millions per year in European countries.

And many terrorism plots since the 9/11 attacks have been disrupted because of tips from American Muslims, Daniel Byman, a Brookings Institution analyst, says.

Read: RIMS recommends steps for certifying acts of terror

Back in Canada, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley agrees with Wall that she expects the federal government to be vigilant, but adds there is also a larger humanitarian component. She says the Syrian refugees have been escaping the same kind of terror as the Paris attacks for months and deserve a fresh start.

Notley says Alberta stands ready and willing to take in Syrian refugees on whatever timeline the federal government deems suitable.

She estimates her province could take between 2,500 and 3,000 refugees.


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