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Kellie Leitch says values test is about tolerance

Leitch standing by controversial suggestion that immigrants and refugees be screened for ‘anti-Canadian values’


 

OTTAWA – Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says her proposal to vet newcomers for anti-Canadian values has everything to do with promoting tolerance and respect – and nothing to do with singling out Muslims or otherwise stoking divisions.

“I don’t think it’s intolerant to believe in a set of values that we expect everyone to share here and include those people who are coming to visit or immigrate to Canada,” Leitch said Tuesday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

The Ontario Conservative MP is standing by her controversial suggestion that immigration and refugee applicants be screened for what she referred to as anti-Canadian values, an idea her campaign floated in a questionnaire emailed to potential supporters last week.

It generated a lot of reaction, including some from her own caucus, especially since Leitch had previously expressed regret for her role in promoting a controversial Conservative election campaign promise last year to establish a tip line for so-called “barbaric cultural practices,” including forced marriage.

It also drew parallels to politics below the border, where U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has called for would-be immigrants to undergo what he calls “extreme vetting” to determine their stance on things like religious freedom, gender equality and LGBTQ rights.

“Look, I understand the compulsion to try and paint this discussion on Canadian values in that light. I do get that, but I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it’s right,” Leitch said.

She said she believes in a “unified Canadian identity” that includes equality of opportunity, hard work, giving back to the community, equality of men and women, as well tolerance for all religions, cultures and sexual orientations and the rejection of violence as a way to solve problems.

She said she looks forward to hearing what Conservatives and other Canadians think of these issues throughout the campaign.

Leitch suggested the screening would be similar to other security procedures.

“Are you saying to me that we can ask someone about their income, but we can’t ask them if they believe in equality of women?” Leitch said.

When it was suggested that opinions on these issues can run the gamut – including among people already in Canada and even in the Conservative party, which only got rid of its policy opposing same-sex marriage last May – Leitch said she did not want to trivialize the issue.

“This is about protecting Canadian values and people that believe that women are property, that they can be beaten and bought or sold, or believe that gays or lesbians should be stoned because of who they love, don’t share in my opinion, basic Canadian values,” Leitch said.

“This isn’t about disagreement, but about acceptance of a framework by which we agree to live as Canadians and the tolerance that goes with that, because here in this country, we are tolerant,” she said.

“We know that we can have thoughtful and constructive conversations, just like the one my party did have in May around equality of marriage and then we respect each other’s decisions at the end of that and move forward with a peaceful approach and resolve our differences in that manner.”

Earlier Tuesday, Conservative leadership rival Maxime Bernier said he agreed with Leitch that Canadian values exist, but does not think a test for immigrants is the best way to promote them.

“I can tell you that new Canadians and people born in Canada agree with these values, so the best way to promote these Canadian values is to be sure to integrate new Canadians into our society, is to offer them more opportunities and more freedom and that will help to promote these values,” Bernier said.

Also Tuesday, Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai became the fifth candidate, alongside Bernier, Leitch, Tony Clement and Michael Chong, to officially enter the race to replace former prime minister Stephen Harper as party leader, saying he would make diversity central to his campaign.

“I wish to break the proverbial glass ceiling on institutional discrimination,” Obhrai said in a news release announcing that he has submitted his paperwork. “I stand with young Canadians, new Canadians; with ALL Canadians.”


 

Kellie Leitch says values test is about tolerance

  1. LOL well she just disqualified at least half the people on here!

  2. It seems to me that there are a number of problems with either this article or the substantive basis for writing it (i.e. the proposed standard that Leitch is espousing as part of an immigration vetting process), namely:

    A) What is this list of “Canadian values”?;
    B) Are these values shared by EVERY existing Canadian including Indigenous peoples? If not, then we have to refer to our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As I remember it includes something along the lines of our freedom of conscience. In other words, even if an existing Canadian, many existing Canadians, or a majority of Canadians either secretly or openly DISAGREE wth the list, why should we bother vetting newcomers with it? In other words, what will make such a list principled “objective criteria”?; and,
    C) How will we know if such “test criteria” (in the form of questions) will be answered honestly? It seems absurdly naive to believe that someone wanting to immigrate here will willingly out themselves as having “anti-Canadian values”.

    Leitch will have to prove why her views reflect a standard that Canadians should accept for themselves and for newcomers before we’ll willingly agree to just take her word for it that this will do us any good. Otherwise, we’ll be wasting bureaucratic time, taxpayers’ money, in the pursuit of some process that appears powerless to stop even one person from entering Canada who will be a threat to the rest of us.

    #peace

    • As Kelly Leitch has quite reasonably phrased the question in terms of tolerance, it should be a primary point of reference that, “In The Open Society and Its Enemies”, Karl Popper wrote in 1945: “Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.”

      And the crux of the matter, the elephant in the living room that Leitch and society in general are dancing around, seems to be the question of just how tolerant we should be of some highly questionable if not outright odious values and behaviours exhibited by many Muslim communities among us. Anthony Flew, the British philosopher, argued in his review of Ibn Warraq’s “Why I’m Not a Muslim” – highly recommended if not necessary reading for anyone wishing to get a handle on this issue – that “Islam is flatly incompatible with the establishment and maintenance of the equal individual rights and liberties of a liberal, democratic, secular state”.

      And if that is really the case – and given that there are virtually no Muslim democracies in the world, Turkey being the sole and rather sad failed experiment in that regard, and given that virtually no Muslim groups or communities in the West have explicitly repudiated Sharia and halal and child marriage and FGM, among a host of other equally problematic “values” – it’s hard not to see that that thesis is rather conclusively proven. In which case, absent any such efforts by Western Muslim communities, it’s hard not to conclude that the only sensible solution is to close the borders to Muslim immigration, and to ban Islam entirely.

      That is maybe a rather harsh point of view, and a policy we don’t want to embark upon lightly. But failing to confront the nature of the beast – those aspects of Islam that seem to make it antithetical to the bedrock principles of Western democracies – is only going to sow the seeds for the horrors that have been visited upon so many European countries as a result of failing to do precisely that.

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