OTTAWA He was supposed to be touting his tough
stance on crime but Canadian opposition leader Andrew Scheer found himself on
the back foot Friday as his announcement was overshadowed by questions over
his dual nationality.
The Conservative who is aiming to unseat Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's
Liberals in the October 21 election has been on the defensive since
disclosing Thursday that he is part American.
As he unveiled plans for a crackdown on gangs and illegal firearms his
audience at a Toronto news conference appeared much more interested in his
Everyone who knows me or knows my family knows that my father was born
in the United States. I've been open with that. And so that's that Scheer
But that apparently is far from that.
In cosmopolitan Canada it is no impediment to high office to have roots
in other countries but Scheer has sparked anger by leaving it so late in
the campaign to front up with the public.
It's not a big deal in Canada for people to have dual citizenship
Scheer said. There's millions of Canadians who had one or more parent born
in another country.
Scheer said he decided after becoming Conservative leader in 2017 to
renounce his US citizenship. He only submitted the paperwork in August
however just before the election campaign kicked off.
Critics have also highlighted what they see as double standard: in past
elections Conservatives have attacked leaders of the New Democratic Party
and Liberal Party because of dual citizenship.
Scheer himself in 2005 criticized the dual French Canadian nationality of
Canada's former governor general Michaelle Jean.
It should not disqualify you but you must be honest when you're looking
to become prime minister of a country of 37 million said Trudeau who was
on his own campaign stop in Quebec City.
Andrew Scheer should tell the whole truth.
The Liberal campaign meanwhile played up the controversy to attack
Scheer's plan to address rising gun violence accusing him of wanting to
bring in American style gun laws for Canada.
Scheer is proposing minimum five year jail terms for possession of a
smuggled firearm and said he would list gangs as criminal entities in much
the same way terrorist groups are proscribed.
In the early evening Scheer's party also announced it had expelled
election candidate Heather Leung for homophobic remarks.
Recent media reports have brought to light offensive comments made by Ms
Leung saying 'homosexuals recruit' children and describing the sexual
orientation of the LGBTQ community as 'perverted' said a party statement.
There is no tolerance in the Conservative Party for those types of
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)