Andrew Scheer is once again taking aim at refugees coming into Canada. At an announcement today, Scheer invoked the fictional threat of the MS-13 street gang to justify his proposed changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Journalists who were covering the press release were quick to point out the similarities between Scheer’s language and the talking points of U.S. Republicans and Donald Trump.

MS-13, a Central American street gang, has been the long-time centrepiece of the Trump administration’s rhetoric targeting immigrants and refugees.  The U.S. President has repeatedly used the spectre of MS-13, both to vilify refugees and defend his harsh immigration policies. Now the Conservative leader appears to be employing a similar tactic here in Canada.  

Andrew Scheer, like Trump, suggested that refugees coming into the country bring the threat of violence and crime. However, recent findings have shown that only 0.3% of those crossing into Canada have such a criminal past.

This is not the first time that the Tory leader has brought up the spectre of refugees and immigrants as criminals. Since 2017, Scheer has continually used inflammatory language to describe refugee claimants. Earlier in the election campaign, he was called out for falsely claiming that refugees are ‘jumping the queue.’

The similarities between Trump and Scheer’s fear-mongering on immigration may be more than a coincidence. Earlier this week Scheer was asked by reporters if Trump operatives — specifically, Mike Roman — were working on his campaign, and repeatedly refused to answer.