PC leadership candidate standing by 'anti-Canadian' immigrant screening idea

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is asking whether the federal government should screen potential immigrants and refugees for anti-Canadian values.

The question comes in a survey on a number of issues which was emailed to people who signed up for news from her campaign.

For some, the news harkened back to a controversial moment during the election campaign a year ago, when Leitch promoted creating an RCMP tip line for so-called "barbaric cultural practices" such as forced marriage or female genital mutilation.

Says a third: "Some people say that our politicians and political parties should encourage multiculturalism that celebrates our differences, while other people say that our politicians and political parties should encourage a unifying Canadian identity based on historic Canadian values".

"Canadians can expect to hear more, not less from me, on this topic in the coming months".

The survey question was criticized by some Conservatives, including fellow leadership candidate Michael Chong, who compared it to "the worst of dog-whistle politics".

The Conservative party otherwise risks undoing the work it has done to encourage immigration to Canada, especially at a time when Trump is espousing anti-immigration views below the border, Rogers added. "In order to win in 2019 we need to build a modern and inclusive Conservative Party that focuses squarely on pocketbook issues that matter to Canadians, and not on issues that pit one Canadian against another", wrote Chong.

In the final weeks of the federal election campaign last October, Leitch came under fire after announcing a re-elected Harper government would set up a barbaric cultural practices tip line.

Of course, Leitch fails to acknowledge that there is already a thorough and effective screening of all immigrants and refugees and it's working, but she clearly wants to take a page from the Donald Trump playbook of spreading fear and mistrust.

Another high-profile and longtime Conservative party supporter and strategist, Tim Powers, echoed Chong's concerns Friday. Apparently, Kellie Leitch thinks the division is the new multiplication. She said her intention in that announcement was to stand up for "victimized" women and girls.

Leitch said the conversation around this has to go beyond "media sound bites and simplified labels" and that she won't be backing away from them. I am committed to having these conversations, to debating these issues and I invite Canadians to give their feedback.

In a statement issued Friday afternoon, the MP for Simcoe-Grey said the consultation "is part of an ongoing process of grassroots engagement" that will touch on many issues, not just immigration.

The Conservative Party's campaign also included a proposed ban on the niqab, a face covering worn by some Muslim women, during citizenship ceremonies.

Leitch's campaign manager Nick Kouvalis said Thursday the survey was based on subjects Leitch had been hearing about from Conservatives during her travels across Canada over the summer.

The survey allows respondents to choose one or the other, or both or say they do not know.

  • Leroy Wright