An Investor’s Perspective on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

I started off somewhat ambivalent regarding the Syrian refugee crisis. My views, like many others I’m sure, are changing. In a nation like Canada, my country, immigration plays a critical role in economic expansion, among many other national benefits. It’s paramount to our growth, and with it comes great global perspective for Canadians. Canada has a proud humanitarian tradition.

I grew up in a very multicultural neighborhood and credit its diversity with teaching me lessons on how to communicate in the business world. Raised in a Christian household, before I graduated high school I had visited a Buddhist temple, gurdwaras, mosques and a synagogue. I can attest that learning about various cultures and religions at a young age will serve you well as an entrepreneur and investor. My group of friends is very diverse, akin to what you might see at a United Nations meeting. So with that, let’s get into this refugee crisis – much is at stake…


The Syrian Refugee Crisis – Risk vs. Reward

After the Paris attacks, the world is rethinking its strategy for the Syrian refugees (at least some nations are). Canada has committed to its vow of accepting 25,000 by Christmas. For some context, that’s more than double what the US apparently intends to do by the end of 2016. The US has roughly ten times the population of Canada and likewise the GDP. And it was the United States’ failed Syrian strategy that can be, at least in part, attributed to the power vacuum in the Middle East nation.

25,000 by Christmas is certainly a generous offering by Canada, but is it appropriate?

The future will only be able to answer, definitively, what the right move is. However, at this moment the decision should be based on risk versus reward.

[Tweet “If just .004% of these refugees are evildoers, we could experience a Canadian terrorist tragedy. “]

ISIS has clearly and boldly stated they are exploiting this refugee crisis to infiltrate the West. One of the Paris masterminds demonstrated how easy it is. He bragged about slipping in and out of Belgium from Syria whenever he wanted. We know now that fake passports can be made in Syria by corrupt government officials for the right price. It’s lawlessness over there. Sadly, there are Syrian families who genuinely need our help – likely the majority of the refugees. These families are fleeing the savagery of ISIS. But a few bad apples can ruin it for all.

If but one savage slips through the cracks of our refugee screening and replicates a Paris-like attack, it wasn’t worth taking in any refugees. Not one Canadian should suffer from this. Not one. That creates a terrible risk versus reward proposition. 25,000 refugees coming in, and just one or two could create a Paris-like disaster in Ottawa, Vancouver, Calgary or any Canadian metropolis.

ISIS has promised they indeed will use this crisis to make such a situation reality. The odds are stacked right against Canada. If just .004% of these refugees are evildoers, we could be vulnerable to a Canadian terrorist tragedy. Not to come off as cold, but from an investment perspective you wouldn’t find one hedge fund manager to take on that kind of risk. There is virtually no margin for error here.




P.S. It’s useless for me just to critique a strategy without recommending a solution. So here are my two recommendations for the Syrian refugee crisis.


  • Take in women, children and families only… no single, military-aged men.
  • Join the fight to stabilize Syria… France, Russia and the US are battling ISIS in Syria. A truly coordinated effort by these military powers should be able to wipe ISIS out of the country. With the help of Canada’s military, known for punching above its weight, it will only help the cause. And it’s a righteous, humanitarian fight. I’m sure Syrians would much rather stay in their birth country than endure the harsh winters of the Great White North anyway.
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