At a rally on Wednesday in Mississauga, Ontario, leader of the People's Party of Canada and hopeful Prime Minister Maxime Bernier laid out his plans for immigration, intending to decrease immigration and refugee rates. He even sounded off a familiar rallying cry.
According to Huffington Post, Bernier "made a pitch" for constructing a border fence along sections of the Canada-U.S. border in Quebec. In almost a direct response to Trudeau's diversity mantra, the PPC wants to make it "more difficult" for "illegal refugees" to enter Canada.
Bernier said that, should he win the election, he will make the Canada-U.S. border and official port of entry and "send back to the U.S. anyone trying to enter Canada illegally."
To find out how real Canadians felt about this proposition, our very own Olivia Lyle was out on the streets of Montreal speaking with individuals about Bernier's potential border barrier.
Not surprisingly, many Canadians were surprised and even a little perturbed by the thought of "our own Donald Trump," or at the very least, a leader whose policies seem to lean towards xenophobia.
Bernier is a controversial figure in Canadian politics. In many ways, he and his party represent the recent global resurgence in populism.
There are many instances on social media where Bernier calls out Trudeau and other Canadian politicians for being "globalist elites" and he writes that "the Left’s solution to climate change: stop making babies, replace them with millions of immigrants instead"
Max: PPC will reduce immigration from 350,00 to between 100,000 and 150,000; stop all border-jumping; end birth tou… https://t.co/86nOKkR4Xi— Paul Mitchell (@Paul Mitchell) 1564020296.0
Though Bernier and the PPC are running an all-too-familiar campaign based upon nationalism, protectionism, populism, they haven't convinced many Canadians. In fact, the PPC is polling at less than 3% and is expected to win a total of zero seats in the upcoming election, according to CBC News.
By the way, if you're wondering - it's not illegal for migrants to cross an official port of entry if they're seeking asylum under law.
Bernier also emphasized that his plan isn't "a wall" when questioned about the cost of the project, according to the National Post. "It’s a fence. There’s no cost for that. It’s a question of declaring our sovereignty," he says.
At the onset of his speech, Bernier denounced accusations of racism and went on to list PPC candidates who represent minority groups. He also said that journalists who keep asking questions about bigotry can "take a hike!"
However, PPC party members recently quit the party after they claim the party encourages racism, bigotry, and xenophobia with a "wink and a nod". This narrative is not dissimilar to what we're hearing out of the U.S. these days.
Currently, the Conservatives have a narrow lead over the Liberals in the most recent CBC polls.
Federal Polling: LPC: 34% CPC: 31% NDP: 17% GPC: 10% BQ: 4% PPC: 3% Research Co. / July 17, 2019 / 1000 Responden… https://t.co/JGt7OzeKe9— Polling Canada (@Polling Canada) 1563908004.0
Though there are no indications that rampant populism will take hold of Canada any time soon, pay attention to the narrative of your chosen party. You might be surprised at what you hear.
To read the full transcript of Maxime Bernier's speech, please visit the PPC's official website.