Laura Stone reports on Conservative leadership candidate Kellie Leitch’s response to critics of her campaign promise to test new immigrants for “Canadian values.” Some have claimed that her proposed policy towards immigrants may have helped to foment violence against Canadian Muslims.
Appropriate Subject Area(s):
Social studies, current events, history
Key Questions to Explore:
- Does Kellie Leitch’s proposed new immigrants’ test for Canadian values represent an improvement over existing immigrant screening, or could the test itself be considered un-Canadian?
White supremacist, white nationalists, Canadian values, foment, fear mongering,
Globe article, the Internet (links provided),
Introduction to lesson and task:
MP Kelly Leitch, Conservative cabinet minister in the previous federal government, has emerged as one of the leading candidates in the current crowded Conservative leadership race. She has been the focus of media since proposing a Canadian values test for new immigrants, which she claims she would introduce if she and her party form the next government. Her critics, including many in her own party, argue that she is promoting thinly-disguised anti-Muslim sentiments in Canadians, with some claiming her stance may have helped inspire the recent attack that killed six Muslims in a Quebec City Mosque. Ms. Leitch adamantly rejects this criticism, claiming her values test would equally apply to white supremacists.
In this lesson, students will examine the current interviewing questions on the Immigration Canada website. They will compare and contrast them with Ms. Leitch’s proposed interview questions to form an opinion on what, if anything, would be gained or lost by implementing her values test.
Action (lesson plan and task):
Engage students in a brief discussion about the Conservative leadership race. Ask whether any have heard of Ms. Leitch’s proposed Canadian values test for immigrants. Inform students of the questions on the proposed test, taken from her website, https://kellieworks.ca/screening-for-canadian-values/) Her proposed values:
- Equal opportunity – We must strive to ensure that everyone has as much of an equal opportunity to succeed as possible, especially our youth
- Hard work – Everyone must work hard and provide for themselves and their families
- Helping others – Once people become prosperous, we all are expected to give back to our communities to help others
- Generosity – Canada is a place that shows what is possible when hard work and generosity come together
- Freedom and tolerance – A Canadian identity that is based on freedom and tolerance to allow each of us the chance to pursue our best lives and to become our best selves
Discuss these with the students to see who agrees with the values, who doesn’t, and whether most Canadians would pass such a test. Mention that women in Canada are still paid less than men (equal opportunity); many Canadians never volunteer, never donate to charities, and many are intolerant of other cultures and religions, such as Islam. Given this, is it fair to expect more of an immigrant than we do of Canadian citizens?
Ask for volunteers to read aloud the short article by Laura Stone. Answer questions that arise, and then organize students into groups. Provide groups with the worksheet and these links:
- Read Kelly Leitch’s information page on Canadian values and discuss it in your group:
- Which values do you agree with? Disagree with? Values you would add? Reasons for adding them? Would you say that you practice all of these values?
- Next, read the Government of Canada’s page on the interview process for immigrants, and scan the list of regulations that guide the citizenship process you will finad at the “regulations” link of the same department. See, especially, Part Three: Inadmissibility: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/SOR-2002-227/page-5.html#h-12
- With this information, do you believe that Ms Leitch’s proposed Canadian values test adds anything to existing processes that would make Canadians safer? If so, how? If not, why not?
- Which Canadian values do you agree with, and what values do you think should be added or deleted, if any?
- Do you think most Canadian citizens would pass such a test, as it stands? Why or why not?
- Do you agree that Ms. Leitch’s policy on immigrants might be interpreted by some as being anti-Muslim? Why or why not?
- Do you think, as some have suggested, that Ms. Leitch is capitalizing on Mr. Trump’s victory, which was based on a strong stance against immigrants? Why or why not?
- Be prepared to report orally to the class when you’ve completed this work.
Consolidation of Learning:
- Groups report their conclusions and discuss them with the whole class.
- In general terms, students can describe Ms. Leitch’s proposed Canadian values test and present an informed opinion on its merits, relative to keeping Canadians safer.
- Students report to class on developments in Ms. Leitch’s leadership campaign, related to the Canadian values test.