Protest ban­ner sends mes­sage to Leitch

Ban­ner hung on con­tro­ver­sial lead­er­ship can­di­date’s of­fice calls on the MP to re­sign

Cape Breton Post - - CANADA -

Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a ban­ner draped over On­tario MP Kel­lie Leitch’s con­stituency of­fice that in­vokes the Que­bec City mosque shoot­ing and urges the con­tro­ver­sial Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date to re­sign.

The ban­ner, stretch­ing nearly the full height of the sin­gle-storey build­ing, says, “Hate puts us all at risk,” and bears the names of the six peo­ple killed in Sun­day’s mosque shoot­ing in Que­bec City, along with the hash­tag #not­myMP.

Po­lice say the ban­ner was re­moved Wed­nes­day morn­ing af­ter they were called to Leitch’s of­fice in Colling­wood, Ont.

As a Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date, Leitch has promised to screen new­com­ers to Canada for “Cana­dian val­ues” — a pro­posal that gar­nered fresh at­ten­tion af­ter the shoot­ing, although there’s noth­ing to sug­gest the al­leged gun­man would have been screened.

When asked for her re­sponse, Leitch was brief. “Free­dom of speech is a Cana­dian value,” she said in a state­ment.

Leitch con­demned the Que­bec City at­tack, call­ing it an “out­ra­geous act of vi­o­lence” and “an at­tack not just on those gath­ered in a house of wor­ship but on the very fab­ric of Cana­dian so­ci­ety, on the val­ues of free­dom and tol­er­ance.”

But those words have rung hol­low for some Cana­di­ans, and Con­ser­va­tive politi­cians say that in to­day’s po­lit­i­cal cli­mate, they all need to be more mind­ful of what they say.

Que­bec MP Ger­ard Del­tell, who does not sup­port the screen­ing idea, said there are two is­sues at play: the first, a lead­er­ship race where can­di­dates are go­ing to put for­ward poli­cies to be de­bated and ul­ti­mately ac­cepted or re­jected by the party.

The sec­ond is the re­spon­si­bil­ity they all have during the de­bate.

“I think that as a public per­son­al­ity, and es­pe­cially as a po­lit­i­cal fig­ure, we have to look and we have to think about what we have said, what we say to­day and what we will say on this very del­i­cate is­sue,” Del­tell said.

An­drew Scheer, who is also run­ning for the lead­er­ship, said there’s a dan­ger the party it­self could be hurt by even de­bat­ing poli­cies like Leitch’s.

“There are many things lead­er­ship can­di­dates do or say that would give them a head­line — maybe help them sell a few thou­sand mem­ber­ships,” Scheer said.

“If it ul­ti­mately hurts our party’s brand or im­age, if peo­ple view the party as a whole as less open, less in­clu­sive or less able to gov­ern a coun­try as di­verse as Canada, then that lead­er­ship can­di­date ... does the party and the cau­cus a dis­ser­vice.”

Michael Chong, who is also seek­ing the lead­er­ship, has sug­gested Leitch’s po­si­tion is down­right danger­ous.

A day af­ter the Que­bec City shoot­ing, he sent an email to sup­port­ers urg­ing cau­tion.

“Pro­pos­als to add an ad­di­tional screen for im­mi­grants based on anti-Cana­dian val­ues is not a prac­ti­cal so­lu­tion, and frankly, is play­ing to fears and prej­u­dices,” he wrote.

“Dem­a­gogues and wannabe dem­a­gogues, play­ing to fears and prej­u­dices, have cre­ated the space for hate to grow.”

$1 1)050

Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date Kel­lie Leitch speaks during the Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship de­bate in Saskatoon, Wed­nes­day, Novem­ber 9, 2016. Po­lice are in­ves­ti­gat­ing a ban­ner draped over On­tario MP Leitch’s con­stituency of­fice that in­vokes the Que­bec City mosque shoot­ing and urges the con­tro­ver­sial Con­ser­va­tive lead­er­ship can­di­date to re­sign.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.