Will populism take root here too?
Trump-style nationalism is coming to Canada, said Meagan Campbell. Maxime Bernier of the right-wing People’s Party of Canada has unveiled a campaign platform for the October parliamentary elections studded with proposals to put Canadians first. Bernier has promised to build a fence along the border with the U.S. to keep out illegal immigrants. He pledges to slash the intake of legal immigrants and refugees to some 150,000 a year, far below the 350,000 target of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party. Bernier says he will also outlaw what he calls “birth tourism”—in which pregnant foreigners give birth in Canada to secure their child citizenship—and require aspiring immigrants to submit to in-person interviews “to assess the extent to which they align with Canadian values.” Bernier is quick to say that his agenda isn’t racist; indeed, he says racists are not welcome in his party. It’s just that “we cannot be the welfare state of the planet,” he insists. Before he revealed his new anti-immigrant proposals this week, Bernier’s libertarian-leaning party was polling at 3 percent, but the new stump speech is bringing shouts of “Amen!” and “Thank you, Maxime!” His pitch is the polar opposite of Trudeau’s slogan, “Diversity is our strength.” Which one will Canadians embrace?