Conservative party leadership contender Kellie Leitch is hoping to bring Donald Trump’s “exciting message” to Canada, following the Republican’s stunning election win.
Leitch celebrated Trump’s surprise victory over Hillary Clinton in an email to supporters early Wednesday morning saying his message would be part of her campaign.
Leitch, one of 12 candidates in a crowded field vying to be the next Conservative leader, has made the controversial proposal to screen immigrants for so-called “Canadian values.” She said she looks forward to working with Trump “on issues of common concern.”
“It’s why I’m the only candidate who will ensure that every visitor, immigrant, and refugee will be screened for Canadian values,” Leitch wrote. “I look forward to continuing to deliver this message to the Canadian elites – that historic Canadian values are worth protecting.”
WATCH: Leitch defends screening immigrants for Canadian values
The Ontario MP has outlined “Canadian values” as hard work, generosity, freedom, equality for men and women, and respect for religious and sexual diversity.
Several leadership contenders, including Maxime Bernier and Michael Chong, have publicly opposed Leitch’s testing for Canadian values, as has interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.
— Andrew McGrath (@a_mcgrath1) November 9, 2016
Andrew McGrath, a former press secretary to Leitch when she was in cabinet, responded to her overnight pitch with disappointment on social media.
Executive Director of the London Abused Women’s Centre Megan Walker worked with Leitch when she was the Minister of Status of Women Canada in the Harper government.
“This is not consistent with the woman I worked with,” said Walker. “I’m not sure why she is doing what she’s doing and really copying the Trump campaign with respect to immigration and other initiatives.”
Walker shared her disappointment with the election results, and is fearful of Trump’s agenda when it comes to women’s rights.
“We have a president and a vice-president that have been very clear that they do not support a women’s right to choose, and that’s terrifying to me.”
With files from Andrew Russell, Global News,