Maxime Bernier — the federal leader of the People’s Party of Canada — is taking a page out of Donald Trump’s playbook when it comes to his proposed policies around immigration.
In a speech Bernier gave at a rally on Wednesday, he outlined the PPC’s position on immigration and multiculturalism and the policies he would implement if he became Prime Minister.
He promised to “take every measure necessary, in partnership with our American neighbours, to stop the flow of illegal migrants at the border.”
“We will declare the whole border an port of entry and send back to the US anyone trying to enter illegally,” he said.
Bernier added under that his party “will make it more difficult” for illegal refugees by “fencing off the areas where [illigal border crossings] take place such as Roxham Road in Quebec.”
“We will stop our reliance on the United Nations for refugee selection. And we will give priority to refugees belonging to persecuted groups who have nowhere to go in neighbouring countries,” he said, clarifying that Christians, Yazidis, and other groups that reject “political Islam” in majority Muslim countries would be given preference.
Bernier also vowed to cut down on immigration rates claiming “Canadian society cannot successfully integrate 350,000 immigrants and refugees every year.”
“Support for immigration will continue to diminish, and social tensions are likely to rise, if we continue doing this. We need to slow down.”
Bernier promised that a PPC government would “substantially lower” the total number of immigrants and refugees” accepted every year.
When it comes to multiculturalism, Bernier says that immigrants have the “rights to cherish and maintain their cultural heritage” and “it should be clear that the People’s Party will never support any government measure to force them to abandon it.”
“But that doesn’t mean we have any obligation to help them preserve it either, with government programs and taxpayers’ money,” he continued.
Bernier said the PPC would repeal the Multicultural Act and halt all funding promoting multiculturalism.
“We will instead emphasize the integration of immigrants into Canadian society.”
As for people looking to immigrate to Canada, Bernier says they will undergo a screening process to ensure they accept “basic Canadian values and societal norms.”
“A People’s Party government will ensure that every person hoping to immigrate to Canada undergoes a face-to-face interview and answers a series of specific questions to assess the extent to which they align with these values and societal norms.”
Despite his aim to cut immigration and put up fencing to keep illegal immigrants out, Bernier dismissed accusations that he or the PPC party promote racism or bigotry.
“I don’t care one bit about people’s race or skin colour. I have said many times that racists and bigots are not welcome in our party. We care about shared values, culture, and identity,” he said.
“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.”