‘Inappropriate’ RCMP questionnaire probed asylum seekers on prayer habits, hijab – Montreal

An RCMP interview guide used to screen asylum seekers on their prayer habits and views on women who don’t wear the hijab was “inappropriate” and “wrong-headed,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says.

The three-page form, obtained by CBC News, asked people who were trying to cross the Quebec-U.S. border on Roxham Road, a busy crossing east of Hemmingford, Que., for details on their work history, whether they had a criminal record and what motivated their decision to leave the United States.

It also asked for their views on female bosses, terrorist attacks and ISIS.

Muslims in particular appear to have been targeted, as no other religion is mentioned in the questionnaire.

Goodale said the questions amounted to religious profiling and the RCMP has suspended the use of that version of the interview guide, which was deployed at Roxham Road and a processing centre at the Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle border crossing.

“As soon as they were drawn to our attention, which was during the course of the day on Tuesday, we immediately contacted the headquarters of the RCMP to determine what exactly what was going on,” Goodale said Thursday.

“These questions were not appropriate. They were developed at the local level but they were immediately withdrawn, and the RCMP is now examining how this decision-making took place so they can make sure it does not take place in the future,” he said.

Goodale said any data collected as a result of the questions will be traced and expunged.

Roxham Road was the site of a major influx in asylum seekers this summer. Thousands used the road to cross and make a refugee claim in Canada.

The existence of the RCMP guide was first reported by the Toronto Star. 

‘Preliminary risk assessments’

In an emailed response, RCMP Cpl. Annie Delisle said the interview guide was created by a Quebec division of the police service in response to “the high volume of irregular migrants” in order to conduct…

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