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

Alberta has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Temporary COVID-19 testing sites coming to Wetaskiwin and Ponoka

The Wetaskiwin location will open Oct. 23, 2020 and the Ponoka location will open Oct. 29.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
City and County of Wetaskiwin reporting active cases

Both the City of Wetaskiwin and County of Wetaskiwin have active cases.

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Leader of the Opposition Erin O’Toole rises during Question Period in the House of Commons Thursday October 22, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
O’Toole tells Alberta UCP AGM Liberals were ‘late and confused’ on COVID response

He says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has taken charge and not waited to make things happen

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Inquiry into oil and gas foes to deliver report next year: Kenney

A lawsuit filed by environmental law firm Ecojustice argues the inquiry is politically motivated

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Most Read