A new poll suggests the majority of Canadians would like to see new immigrants screened for ‘anti-Canadian values’.
Conservative leadership Kellie Leitch has stirred debate by controversially adding the query in a questionnaire send to her supporters recently.
The query has been widely condemned by politicians, including some in Leitch’s own party. But where she has succeeded is in framing the debate on her own terms.
The language used 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.
The wording of the term ‘anti-Canadian values’ make it a difficult idea to disagree with, as 67 per cent of respondents believe immigrants should be screened, according to the Forum Research Inc. poll.
What if the question was worded: ‘Should new immigrants be allowed to bring with them their own values?’ – the response would likely have been different.
But Leitch has cleverly shaped the debate on her language, as she gains momentum in the race for the Conservative leadership.
As part of the poll, respondents were also asked which values they considered the most important. More than a quarter say ‘equality’, with ‘patriotism also fairing well at 15 per cent.
The poll also had some contradictory responses, with 59 per cent favouring some limits on traditional Muslim dress in public places, but 58 per cent saying the state should not be telling people what to wear.
The poll also asked if respondents felt Canada accepted too many, too few, or the right number of immigrants.
A similar question was asked on another recent poll, and the responses were similar, with more than half saying numbers should either stay the same or increase.
Put in the context of Canada accepting a modern-era record of up to 305,000 immigrations in 2016, the response shows significant support for the increased numbers.
The final question on the poll asked if immigrants should abandon their native cultural values when they conflict with Canadian values. Some 59 per cent agreed this should be the case.
Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum dismissed Leitch’s anti-Canadian values proposal, saying the he has full confidence in the current system of vetting new immigrants
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.
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 general 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.
hould new immigrants be allowed to bring with them their own values?’ – the response would likely have been different.
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