WATCH: A Nanaimo mother is fighting to get her child off Canada’s no-fly list. At just 4-years-old, Alia Mohamed wouldn’t strike you as a high-risk traveller, but her family says her name is consistently flagged for extra screening and checks anytime they try to fly. They’ve learned they are one of hundreds of families in the same position.
Travelling with a four-year-old presents its share of headaches but Nanaimo girl Alia Mohamed brings a whole other league of trouble since her name’s been flagged a security threat.
“If I fly on my own I can do online check-in and I can do everything on my own,” said Alia’s mother Amber Cammish. “The moment she’s on my ticket the screen immediately goes black and says you must go to the desk,” she said.
Mohamed is her father Khaled’s last name but it’s also one that’s led the Nanaimo girl to be denied boarding until her mother could prove her birth certificate and show her passport. Cammish says it leads to lengthy delays that she’s now telling her daughter is because she’s too cute to go on an airplane.
“I’m too cute to go on an airplane,” said four-year-old Alia. “You’re too cute to go on an airplane,” agreed Cammish. “And I really hope that’s all she’s going to need to know about this situation,” she added.
Cammish says there’s nothing cute about being singled out so they and many other families whose names are flagged by Canada’s no-fly list rallied on Parliament Hill Monday, appealing for a redress system to be established and let these parents legally distinguish their children from real security threats. They already have the support of 177 MP’s to see it happen.
“Because it could be any name,” said Cammish. “We don’t know what names are on the list that is public safety, that is national security, they will never tell us. You don’t know the moment you name your child if that name is on the list and the worst part is once you do know you’re on the list or you match somebody on the list, there is no current way to get off of it so we don’t know what that is being shared around the world,” said Cammish.
This makes the Nanaimo mother worried for her daughter’s future.
“Right now we find out that we’re on these lists because you go to your check in here in Nanaimo and they laugh they think it’s funny because she’s four. At 16 they’re not going to laugh anymore,” said Cammish.
“It’s life-changingg. I left Canada with a backpack on my back at 21-years-old. I fear she will never do that.”
Now back home in Nanaimo, Cammish says she won’t stop until she clears her daughter’s name.