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

A health-care worker prepares to swab a man at a walk-in COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal North, Sunday, May 10, 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
Interior Health records 21 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

Thirty-six cases remain active; two people are in the hospital, one of whom is in intensive care

STA members and non-members alike are encouraged to send in photos of their trail adventures. (Photo contributed by Scott Tibballs)
Sparwood Trails Alliance fundraises for Lunch Loop

Trail adventurers are invited to submit photos of their adventures for an STA calendar

BC ELECTION
Voters hit the polls early

17 per cent of Kootenay East voters have already voted, with four days to go until the election

File photo
Main Roads warns of snow over weekend

It’s expected to snow in most areas covered by the East Kootenay Service Area

Tom Shypitka, Wayne Stetski, Kerri Wall and moderator Thomas Skelton at the Oct. 15 Elk Valley all-candidates forum. (Source: zoom)
At a glance: Kootenay East candidates go head-to-head in Elk Valley forum

Shypitka, Stetski and Wall called in to the zoom forum to talk all things Elk Valley

Conservative member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on October 19, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals say Tory effort to set up COVID-19 committee will be a confidence matter

The Tories were originally proposing an ‘anticorruption’ committee

A injection kit is seen inside the newly opened Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. records 127 fatal overdoses in September, roughly 4 each day

Vancouver, Surrey and Victoria continued to see the highest numbers of overdoses

Investigators work at the Sagmoen farm in Silver Creek. - Image credit: Observer file photo.
Sex workers allegedly called to farm of Okanagan man convicted of assault, RCMP investigating

Curtis Sagmoen, convicted in relation to assault of sex trade workers, is prohibited from soliciting escorts

(Black Press Media files)
Early voters more likely to favour NDP, but overall B.C. election is tightening: poll

According to Elections BC, 383,477 people cast a ballot during advanced voting days

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

(Pixabay)
Wave of racist emails ‘unleashed’ on B.C. researchers investigating racism in health care

The team has received close to 600 calls and emails since the investigation started in July

With local MLA Adam Olsen looking on, BC Greens leader Sonia Furstenau said a Green government would convert BC Ferries into a Crown corporation Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Green leader Sonia Furstenau promises to convert BC Ferries back into Crown corporation

Promise comes Monday afternoon with five days left in campaign

A passer-by walks past a COVID-19 testing clinic in Montreal, Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Canada ‘yet to see’ deaths due to recent COVID surge as cases hit 200,000

Much of the increase in case numbers can be attributed to Ontario and Quebec

Police confirm human remains were found in a recycling bin in Vancouver on Oct. 18, 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Human remains found in recycling bin floating near Vancouver beach

Police asking nearby residents to see if their recycling bin has gone missing

Most Read