Chris Alexander announces Tory leadership bid, wants Canada to boost immigration to 400,000 a year

Field is getting crowded and not sure the base will welcome such a large increase in immigration – or whether, given his record as former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, he will have much credibility beyond:

Former immigration minister Chris Alexander has confirmed he plans to run for the Conservative leadership and that a key plank of his campaign will be a proposal to sharply increase the intake of immigrants to 400,000 every year, including 40,000 refugees, because “this is a core value for me and for Canada.”

Although not yet officially a candidate, the McGill and Oxford graduate said the paperwork would be completed within the next week or two. After that he intends to undertake a cross-country journey by car to the West Coast, “stopping in every place we can where we have an invitation, to speak with groups, large and small, of Conservatives and potential Conservatives.”

Alexander expressed concern about leadership hopeful Kelly Leitch’s controversial proposal to vet prospective immigrants and reject them if they did not share “Canadian values.”

“My question is,” Alexander said, “how does she propose to screen immigrants for Canadian values before they get here in a way that, A, we are not already doing, B, that is cost-effective and C, does not lead to more fraud and abuse? I don’t think any of those questions have been answered.”

The best way to safeguard the integrity of the system — which is expected to process about 300,000 immigrants this year — is to maintain the reforms undertaken by the Harper government, he said. They produced what he called “the best in class immigration system in the world. We are getting the most educated, the most proficient in English and French, and in terms of skills, the best immigrants we have ever gotten because we select on the basis of merit.”

Alexander and Leitch were both criticized during the 2015 election campaign for their part in announcing the creation of a barbaric practices tipline, widely denounced as an indication of intolerance in the Conservative party.

Alexander has since called the announcement “the wrong one for that time.” But he rejects the idea that the party is anti-immigrant.

“I think we are still a very pro-immigration party.” He reasoned that Canada needs more immigrants to replace retiring baby boomers and because immigrants are essential if the economy is to grow.

The Tories need to recapture “the middle ground” from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to regain power, Alexander said during an interview from his home in Ajax, Ont.

Source: Chris Alexander announces Tory leadership bid, wants Canada to boost immigration to 400,000 a year

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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