Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Maverick MP Maxime Bernier Says Racists Have No Place in His Party

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Maverick MP Maxime Bernier Says Racists Have No Place in His Party

Article excerpt

Bernier says xenophobes not welcome

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OTTAWA - Quebec MP Maxime Bernier says those who hold racist views toward immigration do not have a place in his new party.

Bernier held a news conference Friday to unveil the name and logo of his new political venture -- the People's Party of Canada. But one of his first orders of business was to defend his new party in the wake of support from a fringe political group.

"They don't have a place in our party. I don't share these values," said Bernier.

He also said he would screen potential candidates interested in running for his party and that xenophobic individuals will not be allowed to run.

Bernier himself was heavily criticized in August for a series of tweets which argued "too much diversity" erodes Canada's identity and destroys what makes it great and that immigration shouldn't be open to those who don't share Canadian values of freedom and equality.

Earlier this week Bernier tweeted in response to a story about the surge in asylum seekers at the U.S.-Canada border, "If you can buy a plane ticket from Nigeria to NY, you're not a real refugee. How long will this costly farce continue to destabilize our refugee system? The solution is to close the loophole in the treaty and immediately return these false refugees to the U.S."

He said Friday he's very open to immigration, but wants to look at the levels and wants people who come to Canada to be able to have a job and "share our Canadian values."

"So let's have a real debate about that."

Bernier's championing of the immigration debate seems to be rallying the very people he says he does not want in his party.

Earlier this week Bernier confirmed he took a phone call from Travis Patron, the leader of the Canadian Nationalist Party, who proposes banning burkas, deporting asylum seekers and lowering immigration levels to 20,000 - 100,000 newcomers annually.

Bernier reportedly told Patron that those numbers were too low, but he would like to see immigration levels decrease to 250,000 per year. He said to "stay tuned" for his party's concrete proposal.

Patron told The Canadian Press that he was attracted to Bernier's leadership because he is willing to debate multiculturalism but Bernier's official said there will be no more contact with Patron. …

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