Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the government is reviewing its handling of refugee claims following revelations that a Somali man accused in attacks in Edmonton had been ordered deported from the United States.
Trudeau says the government is trying to find out what happened with the case of Abdulahi Hasan Sharif.
The Canadian government has said that Sharif presented himself at a regular port of entry in 2012 and was cleared as a refugee in Canada.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement says that Sharif was transferred into its custody at a detention center in San Diego in July 2011 and was ordered removed to Somalia that September.
About two months later, he was released on an order of supervision in San Diego but failed to report on his scheduled date in January 2012.
Trudeau says Canada is looking into what happened and whether things need to be done differently than they were in 2012.
“It’s certain that we have asylum processes that need to be followed rule by rule when someone presents themselves at our border. We have rules to follow and we make sure those rules are followed,” he said in Ottawa on Wednesday.
“The priority is always making sure we’re defending the values and rights of Canadians while keeping our communities safe.”
Sharif is facing 11 charges, including five of attempted murder, that were laid after a driver hit an Edmonton police officer with a speeding car, stabbed him and then mowed down pedestrians with a cube van during a downtown police chase.
Tactical officers forced the van on its side and arrested a suspect after using a stun grenade and a Taser.
Sharif also faces charges of dangerous driving, criminal flight causing bodily harm and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Police have said they believe the suspect acted alone and without conspirators.
RCMP have said Sharif was checked thoroughly in 2015 after police received a report that he may have been radicalized, but investigators determined that he did not pose a threat.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has said Sharif’s refugee application didn’t raise any red flags, but his spokesman said they couldn’t divulge any further details due to privacy laws.
“According to U.S. authorities, he was not detained for criminal activity,” Scott Bardsley said in an emailed statement.
Bardsley said that, generally, individuals who are inadmissible, including for serious crimes, would be ineligible to make an asylum claim in Canada.
“Being detained for immigration purposes in another country would not prevent someone from being able to make an asylum claim in Canada,” he said.