Quebec MP Maxime Bernier is shown during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Bernier promises to cut immigration, build border fences in platform speech

Bernier’s speech also rejected any allegations of racism against him and his upstart party

Maxime Bernier says that if he becomes prime minister, his government would slash immigration and refugee numbers, build a fence to block asylum seekers from walking across the border, and end a program that lets immigrants sponsor their families to join them.

With his People’s Party of Canada is barely touching two per cent in opinion polls, the Quebec MP chose to hit one of his key themes at an event in Mississauga, Ont., a western suburb of Toronto.

“I can understand why immigrants would want to bring the rest of their extended family here, including older ones who will benefit from our health-care system,” Bernier said in the prepared text for his speech Wednesday evening. “But we cannot be the welfare state of the planet.”

He pledged to reduce the number of immigrants admitted to Canada each year to 100,000 or 150,000 at most, if the economy and “other circumstances” allow that many. Canada currently admits about 350,000 immigrants.

Bernier said Canada must look after its own citizens first, and focus on newcomers who bring economic value to the country.

He denounced “mass immigration” and “extreme multiculturalism,” saying that these policies would lead to “social conflicts and potentially violence.” These ideas have nothing to do with freedom, his speech said, but rather “a very dangerous type of social engineering.”

He identified “Islamism or political Islam” as a threat to “our values and way of life.”

And Canadians agree with him, Bernier said, citing polls suggesting up to half of respondents think immigration levels are too high.

Bernier promised to make each immigration applicant go through a face-to-face interview with a Canadian official to judge the applicant’s values and his or her acceptance of Canadian “societal norms.”

He cited one of his nominees in Ontario, Salim Mansur, who has written that official multiculturalism is a lie.

“A lie based on the idea that all cultures are equal,” Bernier said. “A lie destructive of our Western liberal democratic heritage, traditions, and values based on individual rights and freedoms.”

Finally, on refugees, he pledged to build fences at popular crossings for migrants between official ports of entry — including a popular one in Quebec — and to rely on private sponsorships for funding new immigrants rather than government support.

His speech said that a People’s Party government would focus on religious minorities in majority-Muslim countries and “members of sexual minorities,” instead of refugees identified by the United Nations.

Bernier’s speech also rejected any allegations of racism against him and his upstart party.

“I don’t care one bit about people’s race or skin colour,” Bernier’s text said.

“I have said many times that racists and bigots are not welcome in our party. We care about shared values, culture and identity. You can be of any ethnic background or faith and be a Canadian if you share fundamental Canadian values, learn about our history and culture, and integrate in our society.”

READ MORE: Bernier says abortion, gender identity not on People’s Party of Canada platform

READ MORE: Maxime Bernier says racists have no place in his party

Lina Dib, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

15-year-old boy drowns after midnight jump into Okangan Lake

The RCMP and BC Coroners Service are investigating the drowning.

Letter: LGBTQ2 are part of ‘our’ Canada

“It is all of our taxes that pay for all of us.”

Summerland cannabis shop receives approval in principle

Inspection now required before Green Gaia may sell cannabis

Retrieved body from Okanagan Lake identified as missing kayaker

Zygmunt Janiewicz had been missing since May and was recovered Aug. 10

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Letter: Revive election voting change to curb abuse of power

“Please vote and vote so we don’t have a repeat of this.”

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

Most Read