Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Maxime Bernier would “close all legal loopholes” and use the Canadian military if necessary to stop illegal refugees from streaming across the Canada-U.S. border.
Tuesday is the deadline for candidates to sign-up new members who would be eligible to vote in the upcoming leadership vote, scheduled for May 27.
The Quebec Member of Parliament and former foreign affairs minister is running neck and neck with high-profile “Shark Tank” television personality and businessman Kevin O’Leary for first place in the leadership contest. O’Leary, who has ostracized social conservatives in the party for his ardent support of abortion and approval of legalized marijuana, is facing an increasingly tough challenge from Bernier, who is seen by many Conservative members as the best bet for defeating O’Leary.
Bernier told The Daily Caller Monday “As I have said from the beginning we must close all legal loopholes being used to sidestep the proper refugee process. If the use of the notwithstanding clause is required to close these loopholes, of course we will use it,” he said, referring to a mechanism available to the federal government and provincial governments in Canada to override provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
But Bernier emphasized that “without proper resources for enforcement, any changes in the law will be meaningless. As Prime Minister, I am committed to doing whatever it takes to maintain the integrity of our border. That includes providing whatever additional resources are required for the RCMP and CBSA to respond to this rapidly evolving situation.”
Doing “whatever it takes” could also include looking “at additional temporary measures – including deploying Canadian Forces in troubled border areas.”
On Monday, Kevin O’Leary, the perceived front-runner in the race, said in a campaign video and email message to supporters that he was also prepared to use the Constitution’s notwithstanding clause to prevent illegals from exploiting a “loophole” in immigration policy and “sneak across the border.”
So-called “asylum seekers” have become a hot issue in the Conservative leadership campaign as Canada’s Liberal government has refused to send the illegal refugees back to the U.S. and continues to process them at remote and unofficial border crossings in Manitoba, Quebec and now British Columbia.
A recent poll indicated that about half of Canadians want the federal government to send the illegals back and 46 percent disapprove of the way that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has handled the crisis, including Tweets that have suggested Canada has an open border and the refugees of the world are welcome to cross it.
O’Leary’s campaign has confirmed that the notwithstanding clause would be used to override a 1985 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that said anyone seeking asylum in Canada was entitled to a hearing before a refugee board before potential deportation.
Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale has often appeared out of touch during the crisis, proclaiming that the law is being enforced and suggesting he doesn’t know where the illegals are coming from while the union leader who represents border guards has repeatedly contradicted him.
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