Leslyn Lewis: New immigrants angered by immigration loopholes

Written By Wyatt Claypool, Posted on June 9, 2020

Conservative leadership candidate Dr. Leslyn Lewis spoke with The National Telegraph recently on the topic of immigration, sovereignty and Canada’s standing in the United Nations, moving forward.

Having emigrated from Jamaica at the age of 5, Dr. Lewis reflected on her family’s experience and how it has shaped her views on immigration.

While the need for compassionate conservatism is a campaign staple, she assures Canadians that defending Canadian sovereignty is of the utmost importance.

Common sense immigration that respects the rule of law and disincentives queue-jumping pays homage to old and new immigrants who entered Canada through legal channels.

In a recent interview with CBC, Dr. Lewis boiled the problems faced by conservatives to its inability to define conservatism for itself, which she explains here is by listening more to the grassroots.

TNT: In your campaign slogan, “Courage, Compassion and Common sense,” you make the point that conservatism preaches unity while remaining respectful towards our country’s heritage. You also mention the value of hard work, personal responsibility and fiscal prudence. As a socially conservative candidate, who did you draw inspiration from in your run for office?

Dr. Lewis: I don’t necessarily have a particular inspiration, but I draw inspiration from different peoples who have shared different life experiences. That includes leaders like Nelson Mandela, whose struggle for equality was awe-inspiring. 

Many who have championed the common good have had a profound impact on my life. From local places of worship to farmers, resource workers and front line staff, they are amongst those who embody better communities and put our country first.

TNT: In your bio, you referenced your experience as a community advocate and how it shaped your value of the grassroots voice. Can you speak to that generally and within the Conservative Party?

Dr. Lewis: I think the main factor for me is that we recognize that in a democracy, there are going to be people who are advocating for positions that may even differ from what you believe in. And I don’t stand in condemnation of groups that may hold different views than I do, and I believe that’s what the whole democratic process is about. You know, I try to find causes that I believe in and where I can facilitate small inroads and change that uplifts our fellow Canadians. 

My concern for the conservative movement is that we have lost control of the narrative on what it means to be a conservative in this country. Allowing the media to say who we are has pushed misconceptions that prevent us from being our genuine selves. By suggesting we will never get elected if we discuss certain issues, as has been the case for several media interviews that I’ve experienced, they say, “Well, nobody wants to hear about that issue. No, Canadians don’t want to talk about that.” That insinuates that millions of Canadians across the country are not Canadian enough.

The fact that the media has led many to fear their political opponents holds our grassroots movement hostage. It’s dividing us. And, instead of celebrating our differences within the party, recognizing that we are a party that prioritizes freedom of thought, we are increasingly pushed to appease the media. By doing that, we undermine ourselves instead of challenging false narratives, which the grassroots movement has done consistently well.

TNT: One of the prominent issues amongst the grassroots is its opposition towards the United Nations and the UN Migration Compact. You mentioned in a previous tweet that it undermined Canadian sovereignty. What has been the sentiment towards the U.N from your base of support, including those from new immigrant communities?

Dr. Lewis: Well, new immigrant communities overwhelmingly agree that the proper immigration channels, as outlined by the country itself, need to be followed. Many of them gave up everything to come to this country for a better life for themselves and their children. They sacrificed a lot and spent years waiting for their chance at a new start.

When they see people breaking the rules and putting a strain on our infrastructures, such as healthcare, housing and welfare system, those who worked two to three jobs to get where they are today, never had the benefit that those jumping the queue are getting. And that’s causing a lot of resentment within the immigrant community.

TNT: On the subject of the Safe Third Country Agreement, the United Nations Refugee Convention and Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, both indicate that refugees must not be penalized for breaking immigration laws to enter the country and seek asylum. What are your thoughts on this, specifically, and on the Safe Third Country Agreement?

Dr. Lewis: Well, a country has to be defined by how well it protects its borders and maintains order. And while we want a compassionate immigration system, we must also uphold the rule of law. The Safe Third Country Agreement is flawed because it allows people to circumvent the rule of law, and it pushes genuine refugees further back in the queue. 

Developed countries need to demonstrate compassion and take in genuine refugees, but that becomes harder to do when others are overtly breaking the law. Attempts to deliberately cross a non-designated border crossing should not be tolerated. And because of that, I think either the Third Safe Country loophole needs to be closed, or Canada needs to pull out of said bilateral agreement with the United States.

TNT: In the onset of mass migration into Europe in 2015, following the Arab Spring, the topic of immigration and seeking asylum became profoundly polarized. Does this prevent society from having those objective conversations on helping heavily persecuted populations, such as the Yazidis in the Middle East and the Uighurs in China?

Dr. Lewis: We must consider how our lack of respect for the rules undermines our ability to serve. Those who are most in need within our borders as well as refugees with the greatest need. When it comes to the mistreatment of the Yazidis in the Middle East, this underlines the problems associated with the Liberal approach. 

Our current government is more focused on the image of being welcoming, rather than helping those who are most in need. And by allowing thousands of illegal immigrants to jump the queue, they created a backlog in the system that prevents genuine refugees fleeing war and persecution, like the Yazidis at the hands of ISIS and the Uighurs by the CCP, from settling in Canada.

That’s not compassion. Compassion is ensuring that we have an organized and efficient immigration system that can process the needs of the most vulnerable.

When it comes to the Uighurs in China, this is just another reminder that we should be critical of relations with such governments. Especially those with a long-standing history of questionable treatment and abuse of ethnic and religious minorities, as is the case with the CCP.

TNT: When it comes to Canada promoting its image on the global stage, many conservatives are skeptical of or outright oppose the elitist circles that the prime minister subscribes to, like that of the United Nations. Many are also critical about Canada’s role in the United Nations, owing mainly to the prime minister’s push for a seat on the Security Council. In your opinion, what would assuage some of those concerns? Is it time for Canada to leave the UN?

Lewis: The United Nations is an international organization that oversees a multitude of international treaties and assists with how particular nation-states interact with other nation-states. When people talk about leaving the UN, there are serious geopolitical concerns with abandoning our allies. My suggestion is that we pull out of individual treaties that undermine our national sovereignty.

There are a lot of international trade agreements that make it easier for nation-states to interact and do business together. So, we should evaluate the necessity of treaties on an individual basis. 

Concerning the Security Council seat, I don’t believe that we can afford the investment that comes with the seat. We have a lot of problems here, and COVID-19 has compounded them. We cannot invest hundreds of millions of dollars in seeking a Security Council seat when we have domestic issues that need solving.

Canada spent almost $2 million on the campaign last week. That money could have been better invested in other areas that unify the country, such as job creation and improving living conditions for seniors.

TNT: Andrew Scheer promised to cut foreign aid by 25% during the 2019 Election. Should we still cut foreign aid by 25%, or should it be more extensive given the economic repercussions of COVID-19?

Dr. Lewis: Before COVID, I thought 25% number was very good, but that was before we witnessed all the money the Trudeau government was handing out during the pandemic. They gave $252 million to farmers and $9 billion for students, including those who are not permanent residents in Canada. However, only a one-time deposit of $500 was given to our seniors. Not to mention the $850 million we gave to the WHO, which was highly touted as a poor investment. Worsened by trust in China being at an all-time low, nationwide. 

Post-COVID, we need a complete reassessment of our spending habits, both domestic and abroad. To be honest, I don’t know if a 25% cut to foreign aid is the right number anymore. I suspect that it might be a little bit higher because we’ve just been giving away so much lately. We need to retain more to help Canadians at this time.

Wyatt Claypool

Wyatt is a student at Mount Royal University, where he is the president of its Campus Conservative club. In his writing, he focuses on covering provincial and federal politics, firearms regulation, and the energy sector. Wyatt has also previously written for The Post Millennial.

2 responses to “Leslyn Lewis: New immigrants angered by immigration loopholes”

  1. Arcadian says:

    ‘Old’ immigrants are angered by immigration loopholes, too…

  2. Martha Janzen says:

    The way in which Leslyn answered the above questions tells me that there is hope to make Canada the nation it was; strong, true and respectfully caring for its legal immigrants and citizens.