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

Surrey RCMP looking for missing 13-year-old Indigenous boy

Police say Stephen Donnelly was last seen around 3 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the 10400-block of 132nd Street

Surrey RCMP searching for missing 50-year-old man last seen in Whalley

Police say Sasha Bankovic went missing at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 in the 13700-block of 96th Avenue

Closure of Surrey recovery homes ‘bittersweet,’ says grieving mom

South Surrey mother says she plans to keep a close eye on how facilities are monitored

Surrey woman arrested in Chilliwack after stolen vehicle smash-up in Kamloops

Kersten Ina Peters was arrested in the Fraser Valley on Friday, Dec. 6

To pursue NFL dream, Surrey’s Kongbo released by Grey Cup champs

‘Jonathan is a great young man and deserves the opportunity,’ Blue Bombers GM says

VIDEO: Merriam-Webster declares ‘they’ its 2019 word of the year

Declared word of year based on a 313-per-cent increase in look-ups on the company’s search site

Tavares scores twice as Maple Leafs earn 4-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver sees two-game win streak snapped

UPDATED: No survivors in Gabriola Island plane crash: RCMP

Coroner confirms multiple fatalities after small plane goes down Tuesday night near Nanaimo

VIDEO: Harbour Air makes history with first electric aircraft test flight

Successful flight marks first of its kind in the world

The Grinch who Stole a Hedge: Security camera captures Chilliwack tree theft

RCMP arrives as person calmly walks away with tree in downtown area

Salmonella outbreak in Canada linked to rodents and snakes

92 cases of salmonella across six provinces, including B.C.

Meng Wanzhou wins right to more documents involving arrest at Vancouver airport

Defence lawyers allege the Huawei executive was unlawfully detained, searched and interrogated

10,000 affordable rentals a year needed to tackle Metro Vancouver housing crisis: report

The report focused on building government-funded housing, rather than relying on the private sector

Toronto Raptors, Don Cherry top the list of Canadians’ Google searches in 2019

‘Champions’ was the theme of the last year, Google said

Most Read