KAMLOOPS — I was doing my usual early morning surfing of the Internet this morning when I came across the latest video from Conservative leadership candidate Kelly Leitch. It’s about a disturbing (at least to me) idea she has about screening all immigrants, and having them all subjected to a face to face meeting with Immigration officials to ensure they agree to “Canadian values”. She suggests that we in Canada have some values that are based on hard work, and a “unified Canadian identity”, whatever that is. She also talks about our values of tolerance and freedom. She says Canadians have told her that they want a leader who will protect our unified Canadian identity and shared values. Now that to me suggests that she’s concerned immigrants don’t necessarily share those values. That if we allow them in, there’s a danger they might detract from those values. Maybe that’s not her intent, but that’s the way her video comes across to me. I don’t disagree that there should be more face to face meetings to determine if potential immigrants will be law-abiding and adhere to the tenets of freedom we advocate in our Charter. I also wholeheartedly agree with her ideas that we shouldn’t get hung up on numbers and worry about quotas. I agree with her that we should favour quality rather than quantity. But her video seems to suggest that if you don’t have certain “Canadian values”, you won’t be a good fit. She suggests that we all choose how we wish to live, but then she talks in the next sentence about subscribing to these certain values that she thinks Canadians have that no one else does. Canada is a melting pot of cultures, and to suggest there are some particular Canadian values that all immigrants should subscribe to doesn’t make sense for me. The Canadians who are here already brought a variety of values with them when they arrived. And we all arrived from somewhere. To suggest that newcomers can’t have values that differ from ours suggests those differing values will somehow be a detriment to Canada, and that’s wrong. Some of Leitch’s points are well taken, but the whole tone of the video doesn’t sit well with me. That’s just my opinion, but based on feedback so far on social media, I don’t think I’m alone. I won’t comment on the criticisms rampant on social media about the video itself. You make your own judgments if you watch it. But it certainly doesn’t do her any justice. Someone on her campaign team should have given her lessons on speaking to a camera, and should have told her the video needed a lot better editing to have any kind of impact. Unfortunately, more people have become more interested in the video itself than the message it contains.
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