The House

Kellie Leitch isn't backing down on 'Canadian values'

This week on The House, the gloves come off in the Conservative leadership fight. Controversial contender Kellie Leitch is being targeted by political opponents who accuse her of pinning Canada's problems on immigrants. We speak with the candidate herself as she fends off attacks. Then, we turn our attention to two major world powers — China and Russia — and what Donald Trump's relationships with both countries mean for Canada's trade prospects and national security.
Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch says that under her plan to screen newcomers to the country for 'Canadian values', the cost of the screening would fall to immigrants. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

This week on The House, the gloves come off in the Conservative leadership fight. Controversial contender Kellie Leitch is being targeted by political opponents who accuse her of pinning Canada's problems on immigrants. We speak with the candidate herself as she fends off attacks.

Then, we turn our attention to two major world powers — China and Russia — and what Donald Trump's relationships with both countries mean for Canada's trade prospects and national security.

Conservative leadership hopeful Kellie Leitch says she would charge immigrants a fee to cover the cost of her proposed Canadian values screening test at the border.

Leitch's controversial, and oft-targeted, platform includes conducting face-to-face interviews with immigrants for values including equal opportunity, hard work, helping others, generosity, freedom and tolerance.

"For myself, screening everyone for Canadian values, screening everyone at the border is important. My intention is is to transfer that cost to the individual who is immigrating here," the Simcoe-Grey MP told the CBC's Catherine Cullen on The House.

"Prior to our Conservative government, the Liberals had brought in a fee for individuals who were immigrating to Canada and my intention would be to bring back that fee."

Introduced by then-finance minister Paul Martin in 1995, the $975 right of landing fee was reduced to $490 and renamed the right of permanent residence fee under the Stephen Harper government during the 2006 budget.

Leitch said it would be a jumping-off point, but any fee would have to be adjusted for inflation and the number of immigrants coming to Canada.

The fee would only apply to immigrants, not refugees, she added.

The Conservative leadership candidate on screening immigrants for Canadian values and her thoughts on the health care system. 13:59


How Trump's China tweets could affect Canada

David Mulroney, Canada's former ambassador to China, says president-elect Donald Trump's tweets about China help him score policy points in America, but could be dangerous for Sino-U.S. relations. (Pawel Dwulit/Canadian Press)

Canada's former ambassador to China says president-elect Donald Trump's attitude towards China — and his public tweets taking jabs at them — could cast a shadow on Canada's own relationship with the Asian superpower.

"I'm starting 2017 as a pessimist," David Mulroney told The House.

"While the current status quo isn't great, I think what Mr. Trump may be pointing to is a lot worse — and that is belligerence, a trade war between two massive economies...a situation in which a country like Canada can only suffer."

Mulroney says even carefully drafted statements can be misinterpreted in international diplomacy when you cross cultures and languages, let alone "when they're tweeting and using slang and irony."

"The prospect for the Chinese to misunderstand things and to miscalculate is very, very high," he said.

Earlier this week Trump tweeted: "China has been taking out massive amounts of money [and] wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!"

The country's official news agency Xinhua countered with a commentary arguing "an obsession with 'Twitter foreign policy' is undesirable...Everyone recognizes the common sense that foreign policy isn't child's play, and even less is it like doing business deals."

Mulroney says if Trump continues to stir up anti-foreign sentiments in China, it could sideswipe Canadian trade ambitions.

"You could have anti-foreign sentiments so that they're not buying foreign beef or ice wine," Mulroney said.

Sino-U.S. tensions could also affect international security and climate change talks, he added.

"They will almost certainly retaliate and the thing to remember with the Chinese is they have usually thought not one or two steps ahead, which is sort of the best we do in the West, but they are prepared to go five or six steps down the line," he said.

"So you better be ready for a long and protracted fight."

Canada's former ambassador to China on how Donald Trump's Twitter comments could affect U.S. - China relations. 10:54

Russian dissident urges Canadian deterrence 

U.S. intelligence officials have said Russia is behind the hacking of the U.S. election. (Jonathan Ernst, Sputnik Photo Agency/Reuters)

Kremlin critic and former world chess champion Garry Kasparov says now more than ever Canada needs to move beyond simple sanctions in "making sure that [Vladimir] Putin's aggressive policies are not rewarded."

Kasparov says Canada needs to show the Russian leader that he will be met with a firm response if he crosses the border into NATO countries like Latvia and Estonia.

The author of Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped, says sanctions were a good first step but are now "too weak."

Former world chess champion and political activist Garry Kasparov wants Canada to adopt an attitude of "deterrence, not appeasement" towards Putin's Russia. (REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer )

"That's why you better have a strong deterrence policy now by demonstrating the price for this aggression. That's why having some NATO soldiers in the Baltic states sends a clear signal that Putin will have to go into the war with NATO, not some of the same neighbours," Kasparov told The House.

"I think a Canadian voice can be heard loud and clear," he added.

Garry Kasparov calls for 'loud and clear' response from Canada on Russian aggression 12:05

In House panel talks Trump, trade and Trudeau's travels

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to embark on a cross-country tour to connect with average Canadians as he beats back accusations of engaging in "cash-for-access" fundraisers with wealthy donors. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Donald Trump has thrown out the trade rule book, so how does Canada play — and win — at the new game?

"I think the Trudeau government's hope is two-fold," said Bloomberg's Josh Wingrove. "Number one, that they can ride the wave we have going on now with the U.S., and number two, if Trump does feel like making waves with NAFTA, it will be with the south, with Mexico, and not the north."

Susan Delacourt of iPolitics and the Toronto Star said the prime minister's office has been spending time with the Trump transition team in preparation of any changes to the trade relationship.

"I think there's a general awareness that Trump wants to change everything," she said. "It's about throwing bricks through windows. Canada, while not being the target of that, may get caught in the crossfire. I think this is the number one preoccupation of the Trudeau folks right now."

The In House panel also discussed Trudeau's upcoming cross-country tour touching base with Canadians in church halls and coffee shops. It will kick off the second week of January, in Ontario. 

Wingrove said the timing of the tour makes sense, as Donald Trump gears up for his inauguration Jan. 20.

"You've got Trump, you've got concerns about a populist message and resentment about the ruling class leaving everyone behind, and you've got Trudeau, who's already been attacked on those sort of things and looking to reconnect," he said. 

"I think [Trudeau's team] is getting back to basics."

Delacourt agreed. 

"I think the Trump victory rattled [the Trudeau government]. I think they really saw the anger that's out there. Some of this trip is going to take them through hollowed-out manufacturing centres in southern Ontario, for example.

"I think they understand that this prime minister cannot make the mistake that Hillary Clinton did, of not going into the heartland and listening to those people. He can't lose touch with them."

In House panelists Josh Wingrove and Susan Delacourt on Trump, trade and Trudeau's trip with the Aga Khan. 13:40

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