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Conservatives debate Trump, trade and immigration

Twelve CPC leadership candidates square off in first of five official debates


 
Conservative leadership candidate Steven Blaney, right, speaks during the Conservative leadership debate in Saskatoon, Wednesday, November 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Conservative leadership candidate Steven Blaney, right, speaks during the Conservative leadership debate in Saskatoon. (Liam Richards, CP)

SASKATOON — Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says she’s not endorsing U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, but says they share ideas on immigration.

Leitch said in the first party leadership debate Wednesday night that only one in 10 people coming to Canada sees a trained immigration officer, and reiterated her controversial proposal that everyone should be screened for “Canadian values.”

“There are a few things that Mr. Trump and I actually have in common, whether that be supporting a Keystone pipeline or whether that be screening,” Leitch said after the debate.

“I want to have a working relationship with him and that will allow me then to have some tough talk with him about NAFTA and making sure that we have an open trade relationship with the United States.”

On Facebook and in emails to supporters, Leitch hailed Trump’s election win as an “exciting message that needs to be delivered in Canada as well.”

Fellow MP Maxime Bernier took aim at Leitch, saying Canada was built by immigrants.

“I’m running for the Conservative Party of Canada and maybe Ms. Leitch she’s thinking that she’s running for the Republican Party, I don’t know,” Bernier said to reporters after the debate in Saskatoon.

MP Deepak Obhrai, who is an immigrant, said Trump’s comments on immigration, which include a proposal to build a wall along the Mexican border and saying Muslims should be barred from entering the U.S., have no place in Canada.

Canadian values are evolving and not set values, he told reporters after the debate.

“Anybody can decide and design what a Canadian value is and when you give that power to the bureaucrats … I am not willing to think that is the right approach for this country and I can tell you that I would fight for that as not being something that Canada should be doing, because remember all of us are subsequent waves of immigrants coming into this country,” said Obhrai.

Related: Kellie Leitch latches on to Trump victory 

Leitch floated the screening idea earlier this year and has not backed off it despite criticism both inside and outside her party.

The 12 people vying to lead the federal Conservative Party also took jabs at the Trudeau government’s proposed carbon tax and backed the idea of pipelines in their first leadership debate.

“It is economic madness to impose a new tax on Canada’s economy. It’s economic madness when other countries around the world are abandoning the idea of a carbon tax. We need to fight this,” said MP Andrew Scheer, who represents a Saskatchewan riding.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to charge $10 per tonne of carbon starting in 2018 and increasing it to $50 by 2022. Trudeau also warned that carbon pricing will be imposed on provinces that don’t implement the tax or bring in a cap-and-trade system.

Trudeau promised all revenue generated by a carbon tax would flow back to the province or territory from which it came. Provinces can decide how to spend that money.

Everyone said they support free trade.

But there are also concerns about Trump wanting to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and ditch the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade proposal involving Canada and 11 other nations.

MP Brad Trost said: “I think we had to be part of the TPP, but the TPP is dead. It is a finished agreement.”

Trost said there isn’t enough support in Washington for the deal.

This was the first of five official party leadership debates.

The Conservatives are to elect their new leader May 27.


 

Conservatives debate Trump, trade and immigration

  1. Pretty much anything Kellie Leitch has to say is at variance with my Canadian values but then I would expect anyone in a democracy should not appreciate someone dictating their values to them. From some perspective, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny, racism – in fact all of the forms of discrimination mentioned in the Charter – may be considered values; however, Ms Leitch’s primary value seems to be the right to dictate. But perhaps Ms Leitch is a good fit for the conservative party with it’s 47% homophobe, 37% anti-abortion, 27% anti-immigration membership; one has to admire those minority candidates who, in spite of nonconformity to CPC values as presented by Ms Leitch, nevertheless aspire to lead the party.
    On a different note, the CPC continues to ride the fossil fuel band wagon even though oil prices have collapsed, natural gas prices have bottomed out and coal prices have dropped by 50% – what’s next? resuscitation of the buggy whip industry?

    • By the time the current government mandate expires you will be probable voting for the CPC to return, that is assuming we are not all bankrupt by then. Let your leader know that the election is over and he can stop campaigning.

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