67 % of Canadians say immigrants should be screened for anti-Canadian values
OTTAWA—Two-thirds of Canadians want prospective immigrants to be screened for “anti-Canadian” values, a new poll reveals, lending support to an idea that is stirring controversy in political circles.
Conservative MP Kellie Leitch, a candidate in her party’s leadership contest, has floated the idea of screening newcomers for their attitudes on intolerance toward other religions, cultures and sexual orientations and reluctance to embrace Canadian freedoms.
A new Forum Research Inc. poll for the Star shows that Leitch may be tapping into an idea that Canadians favour with 67 per cent saying immigrants should indeed be screened for “anti-Canadian values.”
More importantly for Leitch, the poll shows that the idea is especially popular among Conservative supporters with 87 per cent backing the idea and just 8 per cent opposed compared to 57 per cent support among Liberals and 59 per cent for New Democrat voters.
That’s certain to be the reason that Leitch (Simcoe-Grey) proposed the idea — and has stuck by it in the face of criticism, said Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research.
“If you’re going after the base, this is like red meat for them. They’re going to love this,” he said Friday. “This is hitting the nail right on the head.”
When asked to choose the values respondents believe are important, equality came out on top (27 per cent), followed by patriotism (15 per cent), fairness (12 per cent) and tolerance (11 per cent).
Conservative backers put patriotism at the top their list of important values. Liberals and New Democrats ranked equality as their first choice.
Just one-quarter of respondents disagreed with the idea of screening for values and nine per cent had no opinion.
The idea finds most support among those ages 45 to 64 (73 per cent); more men (70 per cent) than women (64 per cent); living in Quebec (71 per cent) and Ontario (70 per cent) than those in the Atlantic provinces (56 per cent).
Leitch raised the idea of screening would-be immigrants in a survey sent out by her campaign seeking input on issues.