When it was reported that Kellie Leitch, Conservative leadership candidate, asked her supporters whether immigrants to Canada should be screened for "anti-Canadian values," she caught my attention. I desperately hoped the extent of such questioning would involve whether immigrants to this country would at least pretend to enjoy a cup of Tim Hortons coffee while watching a hockey game.
I knew I would be disappointed, and as it turns out, I was right. The "anti-Canadian values" Leitch believes new immigrants should be checked for include:
"Intolerance towards other religions, cultures and sexual orientations, violent and/or misogynist behaviour and/or a lack of acceptance of our Canadian tradition of personal and economic freedoms" – Kellie Leitch
While Leitch appears to be defending progressive values, her proposed value test continues the trend wherein sexuality, race, gender, nation, class, and ethnicity are being realigned in relation to counter-terrorism and nationalism.
Jasbir Puar, a reknown queer theorist, traces the history of this rhetoric in her book, Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times. Without over simplifying her premise, she claims that through legal developments and recognition, as well as mainstream representation, LGBTQ people are, at the very least, beginning to be more widely incorporated into society. This inclusion of particular LGBTQ people comes at the cost of proliferating narrow racial, class, gender, and national ideals.
Put simply, Leitch is continuing a rhetoric that perversely racializes any group of people that resemble the stereotypical image of a terrorist - most notably Sikhs, Muslims and Arabs.
A value test is problematic as, intentional or not, it's a Trojan horse pretending to protect Canada's diverse and inclusive culture. In reality, a value test of this kind would serve nothing more than to limit the amount of non-white immigrants entering Canada. The idea is inherently racist and against the values that Leitch claims such a test would protect.