The Canadian Press, August 13, 2018
Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”
In a series of tweets published late Sunday in both French and English, Bernier says he believes promoting too much diversity could have the effect of dividing Canada into ‘little tribes’ that cause division, erode Canada’s identity and destroy what makes it a great country.
“Having people live among us who reject basic Western values such as freedom, equality, tolerance and openness doesn’t make us strong. People who refuse to integrate into our society and want to live apart in their ghetto don’t make our society strong,” Bernier tweeted.
“Trudeau’s extreme multiculturalism and cult of diversity will divide us into little tribes that have less and less in common, apart from their dependence on government in Ottawa. These tribes become political clienteles to be bought with taxpayers (money) and special privileges.”
Since the 2015 election campaign, Trudeau has championed diversity as a key feature of what makes Canada strong and has repeated that message in many of his public speeches and comments.
On Monday, Bernier posted two more tweets insisting that he’s not against diversity in Canada, but rather “pushing for ever more of it.”
Bernier, who narrowly lost the leadership of the Conservative party last year, has been a vocal critic not only of the Trudeau government but of his own party’s position on supply management and was stripped of his role as an opposition critic in June.
In his latest tweet, Bernier says, “Something infinitely diverse has no core identity and ceases to exist.”
The comments have drawn sharp criticism from several partisans, including Liberal MP Marc Miller, who called on Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to clarify whether the party supports Bernier’s views.
Scheer’s spokesperson Brock Harrison issued a statement Monday expressing support for the idea of diversity, but without specifically mentioning Bernier or his comments.
“Canada has been built by people from all over the world coming here to enjoy the freedom, prosperity and equality that our country offers,” Harrison said.
“Conservatives will continue to recognize and celebrate the contributions made to Canada from people from diverse backgrounds that have enriched our history and our society.”
Scheer would have nothing further to say on the matter, Harrison added.
Conservative MP Michelle Rempel also took issue with Bernier’s comments. In her own series of tweets Sunday, she criticized both Trudeau for his government’s immigration policy and also “those who make claims that Canada is becoming a ghettoized state.”
“From a political perspective, it’s equally easy to say ‘diversity is our strength, #welcometocanada’ as it is to infer Canada’s pluralism has failed, if neither claim is backed up by data or policy,” Rempel wrote.
“I am so bone weary of watching both sides of this debate be watered down into politically correct, puerile, or flat-out wrong arguments just for political expediency’s sake. All of you who engage in this are cowards.”