CHESTERVILLE, Ontario – This Saturday, March 11, Tory leadership hopeful, Pierre Lemieux stopped in at the Chesterville Legion to address questions and concerns about his campaign.
Lemieux previously served as Member of Parliament for the riding of Glengarry-Prescott-Russell from 2006 to 2015. Having been defeated by Liberal Francis Drouin in 2015, he officially declared his candidacy for leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada in 2016.
Speaking primarily about immigration and the refugee crisis, Lemieux expressed some of his own discontentment surrounding the issues. “I believe that Canadians are open to immigration – we’re a welcoming country, we’re a welcoming people, but we have our concerns,” said Lemieux. “Our top concern is security and that terrorism will come to Canada through our own immigration system.”
Upon pondering solutions to the issue at hand, Lemieux said that currently, the Liberals are headed in the wrong direction by increasing targets for political gain. “They want to be immigration superstars, so they bump the target up,” said Lemieux, voicing concerns of the Liberals cutting corners.
Admittedly favouring the idea of face-to-face immigration screening interviews, he acknowledged that the process would be unworkable.
“For example, if some young man in the United States wanted to marry one of my daughters, and comes to Canada, that’s a low-risk individual from a low-risk country. Do they need a face-to-face interview? Probably not,” said Lemieux. “But does someone coming from a high-risk country need a face-to-face interview? Absolutely.”
Lemieux described the influx of refugees seeking sanctuary in Canada as ‘alarming.’
“We’re getting a bit worried because we know that the United States is not threatening the lives of refugees, so why are they hopping into Canada?,” asked Lemieux. Canada’s Safe Border Agreement with the United States prohibits unregulated border crossing, and Lemieux says that there are some specific issues with the agreement.
“In the case of unregulated border hopping, the agreement says ‘no’,” said Lemieux. “This does not apply anywhere other than official border crossings, and this is why people are crossing in through the woods, farmer’s fields, and other unofficial passages. Unfortunately, the law is being enforced right now and it’s not stopping anything.”
Lemieux has been outspoken on issues such as immigration, drug regulation, and abortion laws throughout his campaign, hoping to ‘shed light on issues of concern to many Canadians.’