POLITICS

Kellie Leitch Tweet About Syrian Refugee's Domestic Violence Sparks Anger

06/19/2017 03:51 EDT | Updated 06/20/2017 20:02 EDT

While on the campaign trail this spring, then-Conservative leader hopeful Kellie Leitch insisted to Canadians she's not a racist.

She couldn't convince the Conservative Party of Canada members to elect her as leader, and, her latest tweet is doing little to convince people she's not racist, either.

On Sunday, Leitch tweeted a link to Toronto Sun columnist Candice Malcolm's piece titled "The real legacy of Trudeau's Syrian refugee program":

In the column, Malcolm discusses a recent case of Mohamad Rafia, a Syrian refugee living in New Brunswick, who beat his wife with a hockey stick, claiming he didn't understand Canada's domestic violence laws.

"That's why it's so important that Canada properly screen and vet refugees before they get to Canada. Kellie Leitch's Canadian values test would have gone a long way," wrote Malcolm.

It looks like Leitch enjoyed Malcolm's endorsement and, in turn, shared the column on Twitter, using the column's final sentence to promote the tweet.

Reaction was swift, as Gerald Butts, principal secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, addressed the tweet, saying it's not an act on Leitch's behalf:

Former Alberta Deputy Premier and MLA Thomas Lukaszuk also condemned the tweet, calling Leitch "despicable":

Twitter users were dumbfounded — not to mention angry — and called Leitch out.

And many said Leitch should know better, given her career experience as a surgeon:

Others pointed to the good work many refugees have contributed to Canadian society:

While campaigning for the CPC leadership, Leitch faced frequent accusations of anti-Muslim xenophobia because of her much-discussed proposal to screen newcomers for so-called "anti-Canadian values" and her push in the 2015 election to create a tip line to report "barbaric cultural practices."

For the record, here are a few stories HuffPost Canada has covered about Syrian refugees giving back to their new Canadian communities:


Last year, Syrian refugees handed out roses as a Saskatoon mall, to thank the city for the warm welcome they'd received in the country:

saskatoon syrian refugees

And these Syrian women in Peterborough, Ont., have been busy making Canadian flags as a way of saying "thank you."

flags

And in Halifax, N.S., a group of Syrian men have started a booth at the Seaport Farmer's Market, to help curb food waste and connect with their new community.

piece of the east

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