Kellie Leitch

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dear Ms. Leitch,

As the President of the Canadian Labour Congress – representing over three million working women and men from every background – I am writing to you with a clear message: racism and division are the most anti-Canadian values of all.

Your proposal to screen new immigrants based on so-called “Canadian values” at best pretends to appeal to Canadian tolerance and acceptance while fundamentally betraying the freedom and respect that underpin them. At worst, it provokes fear and hatred by targeting and stigmatizing particular people, races and cultures.   

It may be tempting to look south of the border and tear a page out of the Trump playbook, but I hope your memory is not so short as to forget the devastating defeat of Parti Québecois leader Pauline Marois, or the punishment your own government received at the polls one year ago, while trying to drive a wedge between voters. 

Canadians have already spoken out against racism and the politics of division by rejecting your “Barbaric Cultural Practices” tip line. We are not looking to move backwards. We are looking for leaders who appeal to the best in us; not those who pander to the lowest common denominator. Your proposal is a distortion of Canadian values that would be rejected, once again, by the electorate. 

Time and time again, working people across the country have been clear in their support for an inclusive and equitable society that is fair for all of us. I have no doubt that these fundamental values are ones we are all prepared to vigorously defend.

While Canadians have diverse views, what unites us is our faith in our democracy, the rule of law and, more importantly, our faith in each other. We encourage you to share these values.

Yours sincerely,

Hassan Yussuff