Dozens of families with no-fly list hassles contact Ontario boy’s mother

It turns out the little Ontario boy who's been having trouble boarding airplanes is far from alone.

OTTAWA — It turns out the little Ontario boy who’s been having trouble boarding airplanes is far from alone.

The whirlwind of publicity about six-year-old Syed Adam Ahmed’s difficulty at the airport has prompted dozens of other families with similar stories to contact Khadija Cajee, the boy’s mother.

Twenty-one of them agreed to be mentioned in a letter that Cajee has sent to federal cabinet ministers involved in the high-profile issue.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale promised to investigate after Adam’s father, Sulemaan Ahmed, tweeted a photo from Toronto’s international airport that appeared to show the boy’s name with a “DHP” or “deemed high profile” label and instructions on how to proceed before allowing the youngster to check in.

They were trying to board an Air Canada flight Dec. 31 to Boston to see the NHL Winter Classic.

Tales of other children with the same sorts of travel challenges soon emerged. And now Adam’s mother has become an unofficial liaison with the Liberal government on behalf of many families.

“When they saw this in the media, they contacted us,” said Cajee, who lives in Markham, Ont. “Because I guess they were surprised and happy to know they were not the only ones.”

The 21 cases Cajee is sharing in confidence with Goodale and other ministers involve Canadian-born children ranging in age from six months to 17 years.

“They’ve never been denied boarding, but they’ve all had some level of delay and inconvenience,” Cajee said.

“Some of them have actually missed flights because of this.”

After Adam’s case hit the headlines, Goodale said his officials had reminded airlines they don’t need to vet children against Canada’s no-fly list.

His department is also exploring possible changes to the Secure Air Travel Regulations that would help identify those who have similar or the same names as people on the no-fly list, but are not the intended targets.

In addition, Goodale indicated the no-fly regime — officially known as the Passenger Protect Program — would be examined during broad public consultations on Canada’s overall security framework.

In a statement at the time, Adam’s parents welcomed Goodale’s announcement, saying he “addressed several key points that we asked for.”

Since then, Cajee has sent followup queries to the family’s MP — Health Minister Jane Philpott — and the ministers of public safety, transport and foreign affairs.

“Honestly, I think we have more questions now than we did before,” Cajee said.

The family would like to know if Adam is no longer flagged in the system and, if not, when he will be removed.

However, it’s difficult to understand exactly why he and the other young travellers have been stopped at the airport, in part due to the quiet use of U.S. air-security lists in Canada.

Other countries are at liberty to develop their own rules for their own purposes, Goodale said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.

“But it can have a spillover effect that is very difficult to manage. We’ll obviously look at that in the process of the consultation that we’re going to undertake with the airlines and with the general public. It’s just critically important to get this balance right.”

Meantime, Adam is slated to fly to Edmonton in March, the boy’s mother said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Just Posted

Shipping oil by rail questioned

Red Deer-area mayors respond

Country star Gord Bamford and The Reclaws perform free Games concert Friday

Show starts at 6:30 p.m. in heated dome off Celebration Plaza in downtown Red Deer

Survey looks at social isolation among older men

Partnership between Red Deer College and Golden Circle Resource Centre

Peruvian brothers travel nearly 8,000 km to volunteer at Canada Winter Games in Red Deer

Italo and Mirko Del Castillo say Canadian warmth contrasts with twinter cold

Pride Days celebrated for first time at Canada Winter Games on Feb. 21 and 28

Pride Days are another first for Red Deer’s 2019 Canada Winter Games.… Continue reading

Gardening: What are you planting in 2019?

What’s new in plants for 2019? Checking catalogues, greenhouses and stores will… Continue reading

Opinion: I spy another energy hypocrite

Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. The mittens provided to… Continue reading

Canada’s bobsleigh team races World Cup on Calgary home track facing closure

CALGARY — Canada’s skeleton and bobsled teams will race a World Cup… Continue reading

Italy becomes ninth international football league to join forces with CFL

TORONTO — Add Italy to the growing list of international football federations… Continue reading

Toronto Defiant Overwatch academy team to be known as the Montreal Rebellion

MONTREAL — The Toronto Defiant’s Overwatch academy team will be known as… Continue reading

Canadian fashion and design insiders recall Karl Lagerfeld’s charm, ingenuity

TORONTO — Several Canadian fashion and design experts who knew couture icon… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Make your funds move at the speed of life

Change is constant — especially when you’re young. Chances are you’ll cycle… Continue reading

TSB says improved tankers involved in Manitoba derailment that spilled crude

ST. LAZARE, Man. — Federal investigators say CN rail cars that spilled… Continue reading

Most Read