Liberals’ refusal to listen to concerns about border-crossers dangerous: Scheer

Scheer is lashing out at Trudeau and the Liberal party for dismissing anyone who disagrees with them

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the most divisive prime minister in the history of Canada.

Scheer is lashing out at Trudeau and the Liberal party for dismissing anyone who disagrees with them, particularly anyone who has questions about Canada’s immigration system.

“I actually think Justin Trudeau’s approach to label people who have legitimate concerns with his issues as being un-Canadian and intolerant, that is very dangerous,” said Scheer.

His comments come several days after Trudeau told The Canadian Press that Scheer and the Conservatives were playing a dangerous game themselves by lying to Canadians to drum up fear over immigration.

Both leaders are issuing similar accusations at the same time as they are promising to run positive, upbeat campaigns for the 2019 election.

Following their 2015 election loss the Conservatives acknowledged they had taken on a more negative tone and pledged to brighten up by the next campaign. In an interview in front of a roaring fire in the living room of his official residence in Ottawa, Scheer said he is confident the party has learned from that mistake.

If any of his MPs resort to name-calling — Calgary MP Michelle Rempel earlier this week called Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen a “chicken” on Twitter, for example — Scheer insists it is in reaction to the Liberals and doesn’t apologize for it.

“When we’re the victims of insulting language and attacks it’s obviously going to evoke a response,” he said.

But he said the general message the Conservatives will put to Canadians “will have a positive aspirational aspect to it.”

It is on Trudeau’s watch, Scheer said, that the country is facing regional divisions and jurisdictional battles over oil pipelines. And it is on Trudeau’s watch, he went on, that what the Conservatives call “illegal border crossers” have become a major problem, Over 38,000 irregular migrants who originate from places like Haiti, Somalia and El Salvador have arrived in Canada since the beginning of 2017.

Scheer said he and his party are not anti-immigration, they are anti-cheaters.

“The Conservative party believes Canada is stronger for being able to welcome people from all over the world. We are proud of being in a country that has the ability to welcome people who are facing persecution and fleeing civil war and genocide. But in order to be able to continue to have that type of a system we have to maintain the confidence of Canadians in it. We have to make sure people come to Canada the right way,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Trudeau said he is not going to shy away from pointing out inaccuracies or falsehoods in Conservative messages.

“Canadians clearly rejected Stephen Harper’s divisive approach in the last election, which is the same approach the Conservatives are relying on now,” said Eleanore Catenaro. “Whether it is spreading falsehoods about immigration, ignoring the science behind climate change, or engaging in personal attacks, Mr. Scheer and the Conservatives are continuing to play up people’s fears and anxieties for short-term political gain.”

Scheer’s stance against the recent United Nations Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration was one of the things that provoked anger in Trudeau. Trudeau said the Conservatives are flat-out lying when they say the agreement overrides Canada’s sovereignty to make decisions about its immigration system or will force media to take specific positions on immigration.

Several immigration lawyers and experts say the compact is not binding and mainly is an attempt to help the world bring order and consistency to the growing numbers of migrants fleeing war, persecution, famine or extreme weather.

Scheer said when Trudeau and other Liberals dismiss any concerns with the compact out of hand, or try to tie people who challenge it to extremist groups because they have similar opinions on that subject, he is insulting not just the Conservatives but hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have the same questions.

“People who have those legitimate concerns deserve to be spoken to with respect and have their concerns taken into account, not brushed aside with insulting labels,” Scheer said. ”That’s I think a very dangerous thing to do. ”It really evokes a negative reaction.”

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: A one-person Terry Fox walk by Langley City resident

Lois Mcleay didn’t have to worry about social distancing

VIDEO: gunshots fired outside Langley gas station

Two people involved left scene uninjured, police said

B.C. families financially affected by pandemic eligible for grocery gift cards

Program open to struggling families in Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley communities

Three TWU grads named to first ‘Fellows’ program at Langley-based university

Program selects promising recent graduates to participate in a year-long paid internship

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Air quality advisory ends for the Lower Mainland

It had been in effect since Sept. 8

Most Read