Bernier reiterates he’s not anti-immigration at Sarnia stop (GALLERY)

Maxime Bernier (right) and Brian Everaert (left) at Sarnia Library Theatre. October 1, 2019. ( photo by Colin Gowdy)

The leader of the People’s Party of Canada was met by about 80 supporters and a group of about ten protesters during a stop in Sarnia Tuesday afternoon.

Maxime Bernier and Sarnia-Lambton riding candidate Brian Everaert held a meet-and-greet at the Sarnia Library Theatre.

The two covered a wide variety of topics including immigration over the course of the nearly two hour event.

“A taboo subject in Canada right now is the immigration file,” said Bernier. “But it must not be a taboo subject because 49 per cent of Canadians agree that we must have fewer immigrants and more economic immigrants.”

Bernier said with the federal Liberals welcoming in 350,000 immigrants per year, Canada will receive more legal immigrants per capita than any other western society.

Bernier said, if elected, the People’s Party of Canada would reduce that number to 150,000 immigrants per year.

“So we’re not for mass immigration, we’re not anti-immigration, we are just for an immigration system that will fulfill our economic needs and be sustainable for the future.”

Everaert said 150,000 economic immigrants a year is a lot.

“If we keep letting people in that aren’t working — I’m not saying there aren’t economic immigrants, because there are a lot of immigrants that go to work and continue to go to work — but there are some immigrants who flood the low-income housing market and everybody gets all upset about that, well it’s a fact. So if you feel bad about it and it makes you uneasy, too bad.”

Bernier also said, if elected, he would repeal the Multiculturalism Act of 1988.

He said we don’t need legislation to tell us who we are, and that the act is only there for our government to promote our diversity.

“What we want to do is promote what unites us, we want to celebrate our culture, we want to celebrate our country, but when Justin Trudeau says diversity is our strength, I’m saying the opposite — what unites us is our strength and we must celebrate that.”

Protesters outside a Maxime Bernier event in Sarnia. October 1, 2019. ( photo by Colin Gowdy)

Protesters outside a Maxime Bernier event in Sarnia. 

Madeline Vrolyk, one of the protesters outside the theatre prior to the event, said she takes exception to Bernier’s views on issues like immigration.

She said the party leader’s rhetoric of anti-immigration, racism, xenophobia, and anti-trans is not welcomed in Sarnia.

“We’re here talking against hate speech, we’re here to stand up with immigrants, people of colour, trans folk just to show that we will stand up for them.”

Vrolyk said Bernier should talk to the people he’s talking about.

“Talk to immigrants, talk to people of colour, talk to trans youth, and I think you’ll see that a lot of the negative talk about them just isn’t true, and these are real people with real lives that you’re impacting and it’s really dangerous.”