The Current

Kellie Leitch defends 'anti-Canadian values' screening for new immigrants

Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is proposing to screen would-be immigrants for "anti-Canadian values." Many politicians and pundits are critical of this move, but Leitch says this is a conversation Canada needs to have.
In April, Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch told CBC News that she regretted her role in the Harper government's barbaric cultural practices hotline. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

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Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch is standing firm in her suggestion that would-be immigrants should be screened for "anti-Canadian values."

"It's not intolerant to believe in a set of values we expect everyone to share," Leitch tells The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.

Leitch points to five values she believes are quintessential in a Canadian identity: equality of opportunity, hard work, generosity, freedom and tolerance.

"I want everyone to know that when they come to this country — or if they're in this country — if they work hard, they actually can get ahead — especially our young people,"

In April, Leitch told CBC News Network's Power & Politics that she regrets her role in in the barbaric cultural practices tip line and says "the message was lost."

Conservative leadership hopeful gets emotional discussing barbaric cultural practices tip line 0:42

Leitch tells Tremonti that her intention on the day of the tipline announcement was to "stand up for victimized women and girls, and to let them know that if they had the courage to speak out and ask for help that we would be there."

Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose has distanced herself from the screening proposal while fellow leadership candidate Michael Chong had this to say in a statement on Friday.

"This suggestion, that some immigrants are 'anti-Canadian', does not represent our Conservative Party or our Canada."

Many people may not agree with her five core values, but Leitch hopes for a "positive, constructive conversation" about Canadian values.

"This isn't about a disagreement but about the acceptance of a framework by which we all agree to live here in this country."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this post including a discussion with political writer Susan Delacourt and Shachi Kurl from the Angus Reid Institute.

This segment was produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson, Sujata Berry and Ines Colabrese.