• Allison Baker

FACT CHECK: Did Jagmeet Singh “Compare Illegal Border Crossers to Jamal Khashoggi”?

MISLEADING. During a meet and greet in BC, the NDP leader cited Khashoggi’s outspokenness as an example of why people might flee their home countries, but he didn’t compare Khashoggi to refugee claimants in Canada.

On Saturday, federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh visited Nelson, British Columbia, and hosted a “JagMeet and Greet,” where he discussed education, health care, cannabis, and immigration and answered questions from attendees.

In a post on Reddit, a forum website that describes itself as the “front page of the internet,” a now deleted user wrote about the meet and greet, “Hmm, Jagmeet Singh compares illegal border crossers to Jamal Khashoggi.” The user also linked to an article in the Nelson Daily about Singh’s visit. Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabian journalist critical of his country’s government and the crown prince, was killed inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey in October. Last week, the CIA reportedly confirmed Khashoggi was killed by order of Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The statement—posted in the “Canada” subreddit, which had 429,697 subscribers at the time of this post—is misleading, as it doesn’t provide the needed context for Singh’s reference to Khashoggi. According to the Nelson Daily, Singh didn’t compare refugee claimants to Khashoggi but instead used Khashoggi’s outspokenness against a historically oppressive government as an example of why someone might flee their home country. In fact, he is quoted as saying, “Refugees, I mean they are fleeing from potentially being killed in their home countries, maybe they were outspoken like the journalist [Jamal] Khashoggi....So, these folks are just human beings that are fleeing because they are just scared…”

The redditor also incorrectly referred to refugee claimants as “illegal” border crossers. As we’ve previously written, “Canadian law recognizes that [refugee claimants] escaping life-threatening situations should not be expected to prioritize official entry points into the country,” so they cannot be found guilty of a crime until their claim has been processed. The official term used by the federal government for claimants who travel into Canada from unofficial entry points is “irregular” border crossers.