The people offended by an anti-immigration flyer making waves in Brampton, Ont., this week are most likely “cowards and quislings,” according to a spokesman for the group responsible for the pamphlet.
Immigration Watch Canada claimed responsibility for the flyer, which took umbrage with the prevalence of Sikh immigrants in the Toronto suburb. Hundreds of flyers were printed and distributed in the community by group members, the group said.
The flyer has been panned as “racist” online and by many in the Ontario community. But Dan Murray, a spokesman for Immigration Watch Canada, says that is par for the course.
“That’s the standard answer that they all give. They can’t think of anything else to say, so they play the race card or call you a xenophobe,” Murray said in a telephone interview on Friday. “If we are going to throw around names, I’ll call them a bunch of cowards and quislings – the mainstream part of the population that engages in that type of conversation.”
Oxford Dictionaries defines quisling as, “A traitor who collaborates with an enemy force occupying their country.”
That response may not cut it, however. Peel Regional Police is investigating the flyers to determine whether the contents break any laws. Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell called the flyers disgusting and hundreds of upset residents have expressed their outrage on social media.
The front page of the flyer includes a photograph of a group of Caucasian men and women, purportedly shot in Brampton in 2001. Underneath that is a photo of a group of Sikh men and women, presumed to depict Brampton today.
“Is this what you really want?” the flyer asks.
Brampton has been the hub of much immigration in recent years. According to Statistics Canada’s 2006 census, Brampton’s foreign-born population had increased by 59.5 per cent over the previous five years. The city of about 500,000 had the fourth largest visible minority population in Canada last year.
“The City of Brampton has been overwhelmed by immigration, and a lot of the long-term population feel like strangers in their own city,” Murray claimed in a telephone call from Vancouver. “The federal government has never acknowledged that a population being overwhelmed is an issue at all.”
Murray said Immigration Watch Canada took umbrage with the country’s immigration policy, saying the government has been accepting 250,000 immigrants a year for nearly 25 years without much consideration.
Murray said the group is looking for “dramatic reductions” in the number of immigrants accepted into Canada. He said no one can give a sensible answer as to why Canada welcomes an average of 250,000 people per year.
He also pointed to the current controversy surrounding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, which had been criticized over recent claims that Canadians were being illegally replaced at lower wages by workers accepted to Canada under the program.
On Thursday, Employment Minister Jason Kenney banned the food service industry from accessing the program after several restaurants, including McDonald’s locations, were accused of abuse.
Murray says Canada’s wider immigration policy is the same, only worse. He said the group had distributed an earlier version of the flyer about a month ago and sending flyers to other cities is “in the plans,” though he wouldn’t say what city would be next.
No doubt, the anti-immigration group is also bracing for more “quislings” to speak their minds.
By Matthew Coutts