OTTAWA - The Conservative government pulled two of its own witnesses from an immigration committee at the eleventh-hour Wednesday, calling material on the group's website disgusting and un-Canadian.
The witnesses from the Canadian Immigration Forum — Madi and Julien Lussier — had been scheduled to appear, although they had not been publicly listed by the committee, for its first meeting of the parliamentary session.
NDP and Liberal MPs immediately balked at their presence as soon as they arrived at the committee, pointing to elements on the group's website they called shocking. Several MPs on the committee are immigrants.
Sections of the site include one on so-called "Chinafication" and "Arabization," and a video interview with Canadian white supremacist Paul Fromm and others from a conference of the "racialist" group American Renaissance.
The site is called the Canadian Immigration Report, with the title: "The impact of immigration and racial diversity on Canada and Canadians."
A survey on the site asks how long immigration to the west should be halted.
"If you want to protect and preserve Canada, stop immigration for at least 50 years," Madi Lussier writes.
NDP MP Jinny Simms said she was appalled by what she saw on the website.
"If I could just hit their website and get to this on the first page, then I'm surprised that kind of even cursory look wasn't done at the organization before they come before us," said Simms.
After Simms requested the committee consider a motion to postpone the witnesses until they could be reviewed, the Conservatives asked for the discussion to occur behind closed doors.
About 15 minutes later, the Lussiers were told by a committee aide that they would not be appearing that afternoon. Madi Lussier, who is undergoing cancer treatment, ripped off a wig she was wearing and waved it at the committee. She yelled "Shame!" as they walked out the door.
The Lussiers conceded their views might not be in the mainstream, but said the committee behaved like cowards for not at least hearing them out. They argued their website features a range of views on immigration.
"Is Canada going to look the way it does now in 150-200 years? Will the values of gender equality still exist? We don't know," Julien Lussier said outside the committee. "Will the value of respecting homosexuals, environmentalism and democracy exist when the majority won't be of European origin?"
Conservative MP Chungsen Leung's office had put forward the names of the Lussiers as witnesses. He said that he had been told by a constituent that they were lawyers, and was unaware of what was on their website.
"The views stated on this website are disgusting and anti-Canadian. I am outraged by them," Leung said.
"I have asked the Clerk that these witnesses be pulled. If they do appear, I intend to tell them the views on the website are abhorrent and un-Canadian."
Leung said he's asked for more research to be done into the group's background. It is unclear whether the Lussiers will be called back at some later date.
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