A federal court last week ordered the return to this country of four Canadian men, six women and 13 children being held in camps in northeast Syria.
Reports from the U.K. suggest Jack Letts is among them. Dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the British media, Letts was stripped of his U.K. citizenship in 2019. He reportedly fled his home in the U.K. and went to Syria in 2014, aged 18, allegedly to become an Islamic state fighter.
Letts has citizenship in this country through his Canadian-born father, John Letts. Born and educated in the U.K., it’s unclear how much time Jack has spent in Canada.
In 2019, then-public safety minister Ralph Goodale called out the U.K. government for dumping its problem onto Canada.
“Canada is disappointed the United Kingdom has taken this unilateral action to offload its responsibilities,” said Goodale, who’s now our High Commissioner to the U.K.
In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government repealed a law brought in by the previous Conservative government that allowed for citizenship of those convicted of terrorism offences to be revoked. Trudeau claimed a “Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.” So, we’ve become the dumping ground for stateless misfits.
We have no problem with the decision to return 13 children being held in the camps. We do have a problem returning adults who allegedly joined a terrorist organization. They have no place here.
Their lawyer, Lawrence Greenspon, said if there’s any evidence the Canadians took part in terrorist activities, Canada should put them on trial here. No, we shouldn’t. It would be a logistical nightmare. The crimes didn’t take place here and we should not pay for their show trials.
Letts’ case is even more shameful, given his country of birth and upbringing — the U.K. — has turned its back on him.
Canada left behind countless Afghan interpreters when we withdrew from that country. Those brave people supported our armed forces and would make great citizens. Yet we abandoned them.
Is this really what Canadian values have become? A place that shuns those loyal to us and opens its arms to those who would use us as a flag of convenience and who spit our values back at us?