COLUMN: Leitch off mark with values test

The move by Kelly Leitch to go down the rabbit hole of defining Canadian values is proof why she should not be running for leadership of the federal Conservative party.  The term “Canadian values”, as Leitch is espousing is a misnomer for one simple reason. Government has no place in deciding what someone’s values and beliefs are.

Think about that for a moment. The role of government is not to decide a person’s value system. Government is not supposed choose winners and losers, nor decide what you or I am allowed to believe. At its core, government exists to protect a person’s individual beliefs and their right to hold them.

As soon as a party or a candidate drops into defining one group over another, they lose. That definition becomes the wedge that allows extremism, prejudice and discrimination to trump the rule of law.

The federal Conservative party is at risk dropping into the same turmoil that the Republican party in the United States now face with Donald Trump.

It is easy to understand where a candidate like Leitch is coming from about a values test. It’s topical, it dials into a certain segment of the population. It is sensationalist and helps swell media attention to her just as the faux candidacy of Kevin O’Leary swells with every CTV interview. But Leitch has dealt with the issue backwards. Instead of a values test, she should have proposed a law test. Make residency and citizenship in Canada be about the rule of law. It is that simple.

Canada has a Constitution and a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In these documents which govern our country, are the laws we all have to follow. To live and work here; to be a resident or citizen of this country, an immigrant has to agree to follow those same laws we follow. If they agree, congrats, they’re a Canadian. If they cannot, go somewhere else.

To drop into identity politics as these candidates have, threatens that party’s future chances in 2019 and beyond. When a candidate or party, looks at judging based on values than the rule of law, we all lose. Government’s role is to protect our individual and collective liberties, not in choosing what beliefs are good or bad.