RCMP doc sparks uproar
Questionnaire aimed at Muslim asylum seekers
OTTAWA — The emergence of an RCMP questionnaire targeting Muslim asylum seekers in Quebec sparked criticism Thursday that the Liberal government mismanaged last summer’s massive flow of migrants from the United States.
The questionnaire was used at the Quebec border crossing that saw an influx of thousands of asylum seekers from the U.S., many of them of Haitian descent who were concerned about the Trump administration’s decision to cancel a program that allowed them to stay in the country.
Among other things, the questionnaire asked opinions about religious practice, head coverings associated with Muslim women and terrorist groups with mainly Muslim members.
Toronto immigration lawyer Clifford McCarten said he obtained a copy of the document from a client seeking refugee status, who had been given the three-page, 41-question document by mistake.
“He was shocked by the questions,” said McCarten, who provided a copy to The Canadian Press.
The man was originally from a Muslim country, he added.
“Canada is a very liberal country that believes in freedom of religious practice and equality between men and women. What is your opinion of this subject? How would you feel if your boss was a woman? How do you feel about women who do not wear the hijab?” says the questionnaire, which also asked the same question about other head and body coverings, including the dupatta, niqab, chador and burka.
A spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government found out on Tuesday about the existence of the questionnaire from a “stakeholder” who takes an interest in the work of the department.
Public Safety spokesman Scott Bardsley said the department was immediately concerned and the document is no longer being used by the RCMP.