Enderby Mayor Greg McCune said Ottawa and its ministers need to do more to ensure public safety after the Federal Court allowing known ISIS supporter Othman Hamdan to reside in the city until his deportation.
“We must do better,” Enderby Mayor Greg McCune said last week, calling on the Ottawa and the immigration minister to implement reforms that will restore confidence.
The Refugee Board’s decision to release the supporter of the terror group into the rural area near Enderby has left the community shocked and frustrated.
The Federal Court decided Sept. 3, 2019, that it didn’t have a basis to interfere with the Refugee Board’s decision.
“I respect due process, but when a person who is being detained for safety reasons until they are deported is released on weak conditions and inadequate notification, our priorities need to be evaluated,” McCune said. “Our first priority should be public safety.”
The mayor’s comments echo those of North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold.
“By stating these conditions are adequate and apparently believing Hamdan will abide by them, (Justice) Diner and (Refugee Board Member Geoff) Rempel seem to ignore previous warnings of their own colleagues that Hamdan is both a security risk to Canada and a liar,” Arnold said.
Enderby’s mayor said if the immigration minister and Canadian Border Security Agency are in opposition of the release, “I think that this needs to be given more weight than what actually happened.”
“We cannot treat this as one-off bad decision by a single person,” McCune said.
McCune said the Board Member’s decision was based on legislation, precedent and guidelines and the Federal Court’s decision was upheld as it will defer to the original decision by the board unless the decision is unreasonable.
“This is a systematic failure,” the mayor said. “We need to change it at that level.”
“We need Ottawa to make stronger legislation and guidelines to reverse bad precedents and place public safety at the forefront,” he said. “That is how we will get different outcomes in the future.”
Hamdan specifically targeted the Revelstoke Dam in posts made online and upon his release following the Sept. 3 court decision, he will be staying roughly 100 kilometres from the mountain town, in nearby Enderby.