September 13, 2016
Screening for “Anti-Canadian Values” is Anti-Canadian
Last week, Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch’s campaign survey posed this question: “Should the Canadian government screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values as part of its normal screening for refugees and landed immigrants?” As an immigrant myself, I was somewhat perplexed by this question.
What exactly are “anti-Canadian values?” Now if someone asked me the positive of that question – “what are Canadian values?” – the answer would be very easy, just look at the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The fundamental values of Canadian society are perfectly reflected in the Charter, part of the supreme law of Canada. Section 27 of the Charter provides guidance as to how it should be interpreted: “in a manner consistent with the preservation and enhancement of the multicultural heritage of Canadians.”
The multicultural nature of Canadian society is a fairly non-contentious issue. The goal of preserving and enhancing multiculturalism is even explicitly enunciated in the Charter. In addition, Canada was the first country in the world to ever adopt multiculturalism as an official policy in 1971.
So, if this is all true, then why would we ever want to “screen” out immigrants on the basis that their values are different from ours? One would have thought that differing thoughts, beliefs, and opinions could only serve to preserve and enhance multicultural Canada. The greatest irony in asking whether we should screen potential immigrants for anti-Canadian values is that this whole exercise is in and of itself anti-Canadian.