In a recent speech to a convention hall full of supporters, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier announced his party’s comprehensive immigration plan.
The unorthodox plan calls for a reduction of immigration to 100,000 – 150,000 a year, a plan to secure irregular border crossings with fencing and a Canadian values test. PPC policy also includes measures to prevent birth tourism and a concentration on economic immigration.
“For decades now, there has only been one acceptable position among our political and intellectual elites: more, and more, and more immigration,” said Bernier about the plan.
“There is a taboo around this topic. As soon as you raise a concern about the level of immigration, someone will accuse you of harbouring anti-immigrant views and being racist or xenophobic.”
Since forming as a party last year, the PPC has received scrutiny over allegations of racism among its own ranks but Bernier has denied the accusations as fabrications.
“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,” said Bernier.
Bernier said that his party intends to reduce both immigration and refugee numbers by cutting the current acceptance numbers by half or more. Currently, Canada accepts approximately 350,000 immigrants into the country a year.
“Canadian society cannot successfully integrate 350,000 immigrants and refugees every year, as the Liberals, and probably also the Conservatives, are planning to do,” said Bernier before discussing declining public support for increased immigration
Bernier also hopes to work alongside the United States to curb the illegal immigration occurring at Canada’s southern border with the country. A PPC government would install fencing at unofficial crossings and declare the entire border an official port of entry.
“It’s not a wall. It’s a fence. There’s no cost for that…. It’s a question of declaring our sovereignty,” said Bernier.
With regards to refugee and immigrant intake, the PPC hopes to prioritize persecuted minorities and remove Canada from UN commitments. Immigrants will also be expected to undergo face-to-face interviews with officials to determine whether they are compatible with Canadian society.
“We will increase resources for CSIS, the RCMP and Canadian Immigration and Citizenship to do these interviews and thorough background checks on all classes of immigrants. With fewer immigrants to process, there will be more resources available to achieve this,” said Bernier.
The latest polls show that the PPC are sitting at an estimated 3% of the popular vote. Earlier this month Bernier announced University of Western Professor Salim Mansur as a candidate among a slew of others. Prior to that Mansur was rejected for a nomination to the Conservative Party of Canada.