The Conservative Party of Canada has deleted an attack ad that depicted a black asylum seeker entering Canada after the ad was decried as “racist.”
The attack ad, which was deleted from the CPC Twitter feed Tuesday night, showed a black man pulling a suitcase across a Justin Trudeau tweet, reports the Canadian Press. Trudeau's tweet, which many read as a response to President Donald Trump’s proposed Muslim ban, said that Canadians will welcome “those fleeing persecution, terror & war… regardless of your faith.” The Conservatives have since used the tweet to attack the Liberals on immigration and border security.
The top of the Tory ad features a quote from Financial Post columnist Diane Francis saying: “Trudeau's holier-than-thou tweet causes migrant crisis—now he needs to fix what he started.” The ad was roundly criticized online as at best, stereotyping asylum seekers, and at worst, flagrantly racist.
“This Conservative Party ad is racist,” David Moscrop, an academic and politics writer, said on Twitter. “Misleading. Mean. Irresponsible. And utterly nihilist. It has nothing to do with ideas or a vision for the country. It's strategic culture war aimed at winning at any cost.”
Conservative party spokesman Cory Hann told the Canadian Press that the ad was pulled because the border situation isn’t about just about one group of people. This is just the latest spat regarding the Canadian border and the asylum seekers attempting to cross it. The Conservatives echoing the GOP to the south, have turned this issue into a key political talking point this summer.
The Liberals have stated that while the influx of asylum seekers is a problem but claim it’s one that other countries are also facing and one that they can handle.
Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen said the Conservative assertion that Trudeau’s tweet is the primary reason behind the increase in asylum seekers is “not only false, it’s ridiculous,” in an op-ed for the Toronto Star.
“Attempts by Conservative politicians to distort and mislead on this point are irresponsible,” Hussen wrote. “Like they did during the last federal campaign, they are playing to the politics of fear.”
Asylum claims in Canada doubled in 2017 to 47,800 claims compared to 23,600 the year prior, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). In what has been seen as a response to the Conservative's attacks, Justin Trudeau created the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction position during his cabinet shuffle Wednesday. Former Toronto Police chief Bill Blair will be the first to fill the role.
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