Canadian values test could 'chill' immigration, Lisa Raitt says
Published Sunday, November 6, 2016 7:00AM EST
Conservative leadership candidate Lisa Raitt says applying a values test to those who want to immigrate to Canada could slow down the country's growth.
In an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV's Question Period, Raitt said any debate around immigration should be about helping to grow the country.
"Putting something like a values test in that place, in that space, I think is going to have the opposite effect and it'll chill people wanting to come here," Raitt said.
"I don't think it helps if you sign up on a questionnaire that says 'do you like freedom or maple syrup'."
Whether aspiring Canadians should face a values test has been a major question in the Conservative leadership race so far after Ontario MP Kellie Leitch said she wants to see immigrants screened for their beliefs before they become citizens. Quebec MP Steven Blaney has gone further, echoing the need for a modified citizenship test but adding a call to force women to remove any face veils before taking the citizenship oath, and calling for a Royal Commission into Canadian identity.
Raitt says she is friends with Leitch and Blaney, both of whom have the right to raise these issues during the leadership race. But, she says, if security or education are a concern, those are the systems that should be improved.
"I don't agree with them," Raitt said.
A number of other Conservative leadership candidates have said they disagree with Leitch and Blaney, including Ontario MP Michael Chong, who is the son of immigrants, and Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai, who moved to Canada from Tanzania.
The 12 confirmed Conservative candidates will have the chance to face off for the first time in a leadership debate Wednesday night in Saskatoon.