Ambrose 'doesn't support the idea' behind Leitch's immigrant screening proposal
Published Sunday, September 4, 2016 12:38PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 4, 2016 5:27PM EDT
Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose says that she “doesn’t support the idea” behind a proposal from leadership candidate Kellie Leitch to screen immigrants for “anti-Canadian values.”
Ambrose told CTV’s Question Period that she “personally” doesn’t support such screening. “I don’t even know what that would look like,” she said.
Ambrose added that “as far as our party is concerned, we value immigration.”
“We just had our convention, the largest convention in the history of our party, 3,000 Tories got together and no one talked about this,” she said.
Chong: ‘dog-whistle politics’
Conservative leadership candidate Michael Chong, whose parents are immigrants from Hong Kong and the Netherlands, wrote Friday on Facebook that Leitch’s proposal has been called “the worst of dog-whistle politics.”
“In order to win in 2019 we need to build a modern and inclusive Conservative Party that focuses squarely on pocket book issues that matter to Canadians, and not on issues that pit one Canadian against another,” he wrote.
Mulroney: ‘Kind of unacceptable’
Former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney was asked about Leitch’s proposal on Question Period and replied that he believes immigrants bring “dynamism … expertise … devotion and loyalty to Canada.”
“I think anything that diminishes that concept is kind of unacceptable,” he said.
Frum: ‘Reasons to worry’
Conservative commentator David Frum, meanwhile, told Question Period that values-screening is worth discussing, pointing out that European countries are already doing it.
“The Netherlands since 2006 has applied a test to immigrants to make sure they don’t bring misogynistic, anti-Semitic and homophobic values with them,” he said. “The Danes have a long pattern of not allowing visas for spouses if a Dane marries a foreign national to head off child marriage in immigrant communities.”
Frum added: “The world is full of people who are very different one from another and a lot of countries that have faced internal struggles and security problems, people want barriers at the border to screen out people who won’t adjust.”
According to him, people on the receiving end of mass immigration from war-torn countries “have reason to worry.”
“They see the kind of security threats that Europe has so horrifically suffered from and they want to prevent it at the border,” Frum added.
“The problem, of course, is that most of these threats show up not with first-generation immigrants but second-generation immigrants,” Frum said.
Leitch feels “very strongly” about proposal
Leitch doubled-down on her screening idea on Friday, issuing a press release that stated she will be “putting forward policies that will make Canada safer, stronger and that will enhance a unified Canadian identity.”
"Screening potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values that include intolerance towards other religions, cultures and sexual orientations, violent and/or misogynist behaviour and/or a lack of acceptance of our Canadian tradition of personal and economic freedoms is a policy proposal that I feel very strongly about,” Leitch wrote.
Leitch had asked potential supporters in an email to vote on whether “the Canadian government (should) screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants.”