Chong decries attempt to bring 'Trump-style politics' to Canada
Ryan Flanagan, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, November 11, 2016 5:02PM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 11, 2016 6:44PM EST
For politicians vying to lead the Conservative Party of Canada, the electoral victory of United States president-elect Donald Trump is bringing differences between them into sharp light.
Leadership candidate Kellie Leitch, the MP for Simcoe-Grey, made headlines this week with an email to supporters describing Trump’s victory as an “exciting message” because American voters “threw out the elites.”
In the email, Leitch also pledged to “ensure that every visitor, immigrant and refugee will be screened for Canadian values.”
Those comments drew a sharp response from leadership candidate Michael Chong, the MP for Wellington-Halton Hills.
In an interview with CTV Kitchener, Chong said that he doesn’t support bringing “Trump-style politics” north of the border.
“Those are the kind of divisive tactics that cost Conservatives so dearly in the last election,” he said, alluding to the Conservatives’ controversial proposal – which Leitch helped introduce – to introduce a tip line for ‘barbaric cultural practices.’
Chong said that in his view, the Conservatives need urban voters and members of visible minority groups on their side to win federal elections.
“Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper understood that while we were in government for 10 years,” he said.
“That’s the kind of Conservative Party I want to build – a big tent Conservative Party that includes Canadians from all walks of life, from all races, religions and creeds.”
Calgary Forest Lawn MP Deepak Obhrai, who is running for the leadership as well, has also criticized Leitch’s comments.
Prior to the U.S. election, Conservative leadership candidate and Milton MP Lisa Raitt told CTV’s Question Period that forcing immigrants to take a values test could ‘chill’ the influx of people into Canada and, in turn, the country’s economy.
Leitch has said that the email shouldn’t be taken as her supporting Trump unequivocally.
“I do have reservations on … many of the things … that Mr. Trump has said,” she said when asked about the president-elect’s past comments on Mexicans and Muslims.
With reporting by Alexandra Pinto and files from CTVNews.ca