January 2, 2016 8:48 pm
Updated: January 3, 2016 3:50 pm

Public safety minister to investigate 6-year-old’s travel troubles

WATCH ABOVE: A six-year-old Canadian boy has been deemed a security risk. The boy and his father were flagged when attempting to cross to the U.S. for the Winter Classic in Boston. Caryn Lieberman reports.

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Canada’s public safety minister said he plans to investigate how a six-year-old boy’s name has ended up on a travel security risk list.

Markham, Ont. resident Sulemaan Ahmed and his son Syed hit a roadblock on their trip to see the NHL Winter Classic in Foxborough, Mass. Father and son were delayed at Toronto’s Pearson Airport because Syed – who goes by his middle name Adam – actually appears on an Air Canada security risk list, called the DHP, or Deemed-High-Profile list of potential threats to public safety.

It’s not the first time the family has encountered security problems due to an apparent threat posed by their son, but they’re increasingly frustrated with a lack of explanation from official sources.

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“We’ve been trying to get answers from the government,” Khadija Cajee, Ahmed’s 37-year-old mother said by phone Thursday.

Global News first published the story Thursday and on Saturday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released a statement pledging a review of the boy’s situation.

“The reports of Mr. Ahmed and his son, Adam’s, experience during their recent travel to Boston is certainly cause for concern and I will be reviewing the specifics of their case with officials in the coming days,” read a statement issued to Global News.

“Our government pledged during the election to review issues relating to so-called “no fly” lists … and to introduce new legislation that strengthens accountability with respect to national security and better balances collective security with rights and freedoms. That work is on-going, and will include a public consultation process.”

WATCH: Parents talk about son’s name being on terror watchlist

Air Canada (and other airlines) maintain security-related lists which gather information from Canadian and global security agencies but it still remains unclear as to how or why the six-year-old’s name has been flagged.

Syed Ahmed’s name could be raising the red flags according to one terrorism expert.

“I have the same name as an IRA bomber that’s on the no-fly list for several countries,”said John Thompson, Vice President of Intelligence with the Strategic Capital  Intelligence Group.  “So every time I’m on an international flight, or flying to the United States, I have to more-or-less take an extra half hour, because I’m going to set off the alarm bells.

With files from Jamie Sturgeon

 

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