Conservative Party leadership candidate Kellie Leitch has asked her supporters what they think about a policy of screening immigration candidates for ‘anti-Canadian values’.
In a questionnaire sent out to anyone signed up to her leadership campaign newsletter, Leitch asked the following: “Should the Canadian government screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants?”
The language used in the question draws inevitable comparisons with Donald Trump’s rhetoric, with the US presidential candidate saying he will introduce ‘extreme vetting’ of new immigrants if he beats Hillary Clinton to the White House.
Canada’s Liberal government is currently enacting a strong mandate to lead it was given after a pro-immigration, pro-multiculturalism campaign which culminated in election victory last October.
Now Leitch is attempting to appeal to a sinister minority of Canadians in her attempt to grab the leadership of her party, despite such protectionist views being widely rejected by Canadians when they elected Justin Trudeau.
There was more than one inflammatory question posed by Leitch to her followers.
One asked if terrorists should be put in jail instead of given access to therapy and counselling, while another suggested ‘political parties should encourage a unifying Canadian identity based on historic Canadian values’.
While Leitch’s stance would probably garner support in the US, the UK, France or perhaps Germany, countries where anti-immigration sentiment seems to be gradually taking hold, her attitude goes against the tide of positivity currently sweeping through Canada.
It seems Leitch has failed to learn from the landslide defeat handed to the Conservatives during the 2015 election, when the party’s extreme views on immigration were at least partly to blame for their downfall.
This is not the first time Leitch has revealed an appetite for extreme policies when it comes to immigration and multiculturalism.
During the election campaign, her and former immigration minister Chris Alexander who lost his riding in the last election, promoted a promise to establish a tip line for ‘barbaric cultural practices’ designed to tackle forced marriages.
She offered a tearful retraction of that stance in a recent television interview, but it would appear she either failed to learn from the episode or her apologies were less than sincere.
The Conservative campaign also included a proposal to ban the niqab (an Islamic face veil) during citizenship ceremonies, a policy that would now draw comparisons with France’s controversial outlawing of the swimsuit worn by Muslim women, colloquially known as the burkini.
Canadians showed what they thought of the Conservatives at the ballot box and now the Liberals are preparing to announce an overhaul of immigration policies expected to see a managed increase in immigration levels over the coming years.
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