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By Mark Pavilons
The MP serving Simcoe-Grey officially launched her bid to become the next leader of the federal Conservative Party. She made the announcement in Collingwood over the weekend.
She said she's running to become the leader, and “the next prime minister of Canada” when they defeat the Trudeau Liberals in 2019.
“This Liberal government is failing Canadians. Failing to protect our historic Canadian values.
“And they are failing Canadians with enormous new government spending that is growing the size of government and choking off private sector jobs.”
Leitch told the crowd what it means to be a Canadian.
“Whether you are born in Canada or you came to Canada, some time ago or even this week. It doesn't matter when you came here or where you came from, doesn't matter as much as where we are going as a country and as a Canadian people, together.
“The expectation we all have is that Canada is a place where people are more equal than anywhere else in the world.
“It's a safe place because violence to resolve conflict is unacceptable and not tolerated.
“In Canada, more than anywhere else in the world you are rewarded based on your efforts.
“More than anywhere in the world you have a real chance to succeed, if you are willing to work hard.
“Canada is a place where you can provide for yourself. You can provide for your family. That is the expectation that we have for each other.”
Freedom, prosperity, and equality of opportunity are all central and at the core of our shared Canadian identity, she said.
“But that is not all, Canadians are generous. We work hard and then we help others. We are generous to each other, here at home and we are generous to others in the world who need our help.
“But the one Canadian value that makes Canada the special place that it is tolerance.
“Canada is a country where we have disagreements about priorities and about what's important – and that's valuable – but what's most valuable is we have those disagreements within a framework that applies to each of us equally.
“Where we respect each individual's right to form their own opinion, where we don't seek to impose our views on others.
“Where our disagreements are dealt with peacefully without resorting to force and violence.
“We are a tolerant society. Our tolerance and respect for one another has made us a strong nation. A diverse nation with many strengths from many peoples, from every corner in the world.”
But violence and misogyny are not Canadian values and will not be tolerated, she stressed.
“Hate speech will not be tolerated. Mental or any other form of abuse will not be tolerated. On this we all agree.”
Leitch noted the world has changed dramatically in the last 30 years and especially in the last 15 years. It has become a much more dangerous place.
Because of the wars in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, more and more people are trying to come to Canada and we are the “beacon of hope for the world.”
Immigration has become a more urgent issue now, more than ever before, she observed.
“And let me be very clear – immigration is a good thing for this country. Canada has been built by immigrants.
“But what is troubling is that fewer and fewer of the people who come to Canada do not get a face-to-face interview with an immigration officer. Only a handful of immigrants ever see an immigration officer face-to-face. It's less than 1 out of 5 people. Less than 20%.”
She said she's been hearing from Canadians that more screening is necessary.
“And because of this I will continue to argue that Canadians want to protect our nation, our way of life – our Canadian values, our Canadian identity, a Canadian identity that so many people have fought and died for.
“There is another aspect of the immigration system that is being over-looked which, applies what I have been talking about with thousands of Canadians over the last 8 months. That is the concept of immigration as an act of nation-building. A process that strengthens our country, the fabric of who we are, and what we will be in the future. This is reflected in the objectives of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act which states that the purpose of the act is to enrich the social and cultural fabric of our nation.
“I believe the significant decline of face-to-face interviews detracts from the concept of nation-building. Sadly, immigration officers are under pressure to meet their quotas by glossing over paper applications. They have no opportunity to meet the people they are welcoming to our country unless they have suspicions about the authenticity of their applications. This is unhealthy, and dangerous for our nation as a whole.”
Leitch said this Liberal government is obsessed with numbers and quotas. There are constant demands for more and more approvals meaning an effective demand for fewer refusals since, refusals take more time and therefore make it more difficult to meet the approval quotas. There is more and more evidence surfacing that our immigration officers are expected to make 75 decisions per day.
“How can you even ask questions about equality of women, of freedom of religion about equality for all under the law – Canadian Law – without face to face interviews or personal interactions with trained immigration officers?”
“I am running for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada with a clear directive from the thousands of Canadians that I have met personally and the many more thousands who have written and reached out to my campaign, who have said: ‘Stand up for the values that make this country great.'”
She said she's the only leadership candidate willing to talk about and stand up for a unified Canadian identity that is based on historic Canadian values.
Debate and discussion about Canadian values and anti-Canadian values should be welcomed – “this is what happens in a democracy.”
As she's travelled across the country, she's spoken with countless Canadians who work hard to support their families, and yet many of them are just scraping by.
“The Liberals, however, also working hard at spending. Spending at a reckless rate. They've squandered a budgetary surplus left by our previous government.
“And, in typical Liberal fashion, they've already shown such blatant disrespect of taxpayer dollars – your money.
“The sense of their entitlement is appalling.”
As Prime Minister, she will implement a clear policy to fix this problem: “I will cap government spending. This must be done.”
There will be a cap on overall government spending. Ministers and public servants will have to do more, with less every year. It's more than possible and it is necessary.
“The government of Canada must live within its means, just like you do at home.”
What really needs to happen is the private sector needs to grow and the public sector need to shrink.
“That is the way to prosperity for the entire country.”
She said the federal government must face reality and has to prioritize and make choices so the next generations of Canadians can be prosperous.
Leitch pointed out she's been a Conservative party activist since I was 14.
“I've hammered in lawn signs, knocked on doors and I've been listening. I know what the grassroots of this party is looking for in a leader.
“My experience keeps me grounded in the Canadian values that we hold dear.”
“We need a fresh perspective and new approach. One that proudly looks forward to the future.”
Excerpt: The MP serving Simcoe-Grey officially launched her bid to become the next leader of the federal Conservative Party. She made the announcement in Collingwood over the weekend. She said she’s running to become the leader, and “the next prime minister of Canada” when they defeat the Trudeau Liberals in 2019.
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