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

LRCA Concerts in the Park series presents: Beatlemania Unplugged

This will be the final Concerts in the Park event of the summer

Arts on the Avenue turns 21 this weekend

1st Avenue will have a weekend full of arts on display Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon

Ladysmith gallery hosts Island Living Art Show

Nanaimo Arts Council exhibition opens at the Waterfront Gallery on Aug. 24

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Nanaimo Ladysmith education support workers’ deal ratified

CUPE Local 606, Nanaimo school district and bargaining agent ratify deal, which runs till June 2022

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Most Read