At a rally in Quebec province, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused a heckler of intolerance. (YouTube)

Prime minister warns against populism after being heckled

A reporter today asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau whether he went too far when he told a heckler “there is no room in Canada for this intolerance toward immigrants.” Trudeau was at a rally in the French-speaking province of Quebec yesterday when a woman repeatedly interrupted his speech asking whether the federal government would repay the province for the cost of handling an influx of people crossing into Canada from the U.S. to seek asylum.

Trudeau criticises the politics of division

When reporters today asked about the incident, the prime minister called hate speech and the politics of division a “dangerous path” for Canada. Trudeau said he fears a rise in extreme populism and polarization around the issue of immigration and he accused some of feeding intolerance with partial truths and outright lies.

Opposition Conservative immigration critic Michelle Rempel has criticized the government for its handling of the influx of asylum seekers and has called the situation a crisis.

Immigration a past and future election issue

On August 17, 2018, the minister for immigration had tense discussions with provincial counterparts, some of whom are seeking funding to offset what they have spend handling the influx. Ahmed Hussen criticized the government of the province of Ontario for what he called a dangerous and unCanadian approach to the issue.

Issues surrounding immigrants were front and centre in the last federal election and that in the province of Quebec. There will be another federal election in 2019 and one in Quebec in October 2018.

With files from Canadian Press and the public broadcaster, CBC.

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