Canaduh's secret program that grants visas to war criminals, terrorists, security thr

Three months before he boarded a plane in Cairo and six months before he made a refugee claim in Toronto, Canadian security officials deemed retired Brig.-Gen. Khaled Saber Abdelhamed Zahw “inadmissible” to Canada because of national security concerns.

Zahw was a “high-ranking” member of Egypt’s military when it orchestrated a coup of President Mohamed Morsi’s government in 2013, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
An inadmissibility finding would keep most people out of Canada, but it didn’t stop Zahw and his wife from obtaining valid visitor visas from the Canadian embassy in Egypt in April 2015.

This is because, according to internal government documents obtained by Global News, Canada has a secret program that allows certain “high-profile” foreign nationals who would otherwise be barred from entering the country due to national security concerns, war crimes, human rights violations and organized crime to be granted special “public policy” entry visas so long as it is in Canada’s “national interest.”

But exactly what “national interest” means in relation to this policy and how the government decides who gets this kind of visa is unclear.

That’s because there’s almost no information available about the program, and the government refuses to answer questions.

Details of Zahw’s immigration file, including internal government documents detailing the secretive visa policy, were submitted to the Federal Court when Zahw challenged the government’s efforts to block him from making a refugee claim.

Zahw sponsored by National Defence
In Zahw’s case, visitor visas were issued after a senior official from the Department of National Defence (DND) in Ottawa wrote a letter to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) saying Zahw and his wife should be given visas to avoid upsetting Canada’s relationship with Egypt’s military.

This type of “national interest letter” can be issued by any federal department or the head of a Canadian mission abroad, such as an ambassador or high commissioner, according to an unpublished government “operational bulletin” contained in Zahw’s Federal Court file.

These letters, the bulletin shows, are valid for up to 24 months, are good for multiple trips to Canada — including personal and official travel — and are issued when the CBSA has completed a security screening and determined that the “risk/danger” to Canada is low.

“It is in our interest to maintain constructive relations with members of the Egyptian military as these relationships enable execution of Canadian Armed Forces operations in the region, most notably Operation CALUMET,” read a letter sent by DND Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy Gordon Venner prior to Zahw being given a visa.

“It is for this reason we would request that [Zahw] and his spouse be issued the appropriate visas,” Venner wrote.

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The government, meanwhile, will not provide any details about the visa policy or the criteria it uses to decide who is given this kind of special exemption.

A review of annual reports submitted to Parliament by IRCC — which contain few details about the policy — shows that 3,000 of these visas were issued between 2010 and 2017.
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Our government is an international embarrassment.

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