The People's Party of Canada continues to face harsh criticism throughout the country after controversial billboards reading “Say NO to mass immigration” were taken down.
Pattison Outdoor Advertising agreed to remove the messages, paid for by True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp., because they “violate the company's own code of conduct,” according to The Canadian Press.
The message on the billboard is not “controversial” for two thirds of Canadians who agree with it, and for those who disagree but support free speech and an open discussion.— Maxime Bernier (@MaximeBernier) August 26, 2019
It’s only controversial for the totalitarian leftist mob who want to censor it. https://t.co/0EqZrg7qSz
Although party leader Maxime Bernier did not pay for the billboards himself, he is now blaming the “totalitarian leftist mob” for the removal of the billboards.
Canadians took to social media to share their thoughts on the message:
We don't have "mass immigration" and you're just trying to stir up the pot. Trumpian strategy.— Len Mac (@lenmac1) August 26, 2019
When confronted with ideas that are at least grounded in reality and palatable, I can be pretty civil.— Jake Skibicki (@SkibickiJake) August 26, 2019
Bernier, however, is someone I'm perfectly comfortable viciously attacking because his rhetoric is so poisonous.
This is the first common sense article I have read to date concerning Mass Immagration. I have never been nor will I ever be racist and I still agree with what Maxime Bernier is saying as well as I support immagration.— Sharon Billen (@SharonBillen) August 26, 2019
What political parties think about immigration and refugees
Bernier’s party has been very vocal about their stance on immigration, stating that immigration levels should be reduced from from 350,000 people to between 100,000 and 150,000 immigrants and refugees per year. The party leader also wants to change the current immigration system to “accept a larger proportion of economic immigrants with the right skills,” and fewer resettled refugees.
Although not all other parties have expressed their position on immigrants and refugees so explicitely, it has been a hot-button topic as we get closer to the Oct. 21 election.
Earlier this month, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government announced that it will spend $26 million on Ontario refugee and immigration legal aid services this year. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said that he would like to see Canada accept more refugees and more should have access to economic immigration programs.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s platform states that he wants to “close the loophole” in the Safe-Third Country Agreement that “allows some people to skip the line.” Scheer also believe there should be a focus on economic immigrants and improved language training.
The NDP have stated that they will suspend the Safe-Third Country Agreement as the U.S. is “no longer a safe country for refugees.” Earlier this year, party leader Jagmeet Singh said that Canada needs to do more to help protect LGBTQ+ refugees, promising to implement a program that will create a safe path for internationally displaced people.
Yahoo Canada asked our readers to select what they consider the most important issue heading into the federal election. Respondents indicated that immigration was the second most important, behind taxes.
So what do you think of the message on the billboards? Vote in the poll above and leave your thoughts in the comments below.