At a town hall meeting on the North Shore, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper of trying to foment fear.
"This is how this man governs: let's find something to be frightened of," Ignatieff told an audience of several hundred people today (August 22) at the West Vancouver Community Centre.
The federal Opposition leader cited the example of Tamil refugee claimants, who travelled in a rickety boat across the Pacific Ocean and arrived in B.C. earlier this month.
Ignatieff claimed that federal Conservative politicians tried to make people "afraid of people you don't even know".
He added that officials with the Immigration and Refugee Board should have been left to do the proper screening without interference.
"Politicians should shut up and let these people do their job," Ignatieff declared to loud applause.
He pointed out that his own father was a refugee who fled Communism in Russia. "We must always be a haven in a heartless world," Ignatieff said.
He went on to describe how the Harper government has created a "democratic deficit".
"This is a prime minister who shut parliament down not once, but twice," he noted.
Ignatieff also claimed that Conservative politicians smeared the reputation of a civil servant, Richard Colvin, after he raised questions about the handling of Afghan detainees.
The Liberal leader commented on how the Conservative government "pretty well ignored" a Federal Court order involving the detention of Omar Khadr in Guantanamo Bay.
From there, Ignatieff highlighted how Harper's government "basically fired" the ombudsman for Canadian veterans.
He then noted how the RCMP officer overseeing the long-gun registry was shuffled out of his job to take French lessons after speaking out in favour of gun control.
"Anybody who cares about law and order wants a gun registry in this country, pure and simple," Ignatieff said.
He closed his speech by inviting "compassionate Conservatives" and those who are concerned about the $54-billion deficit to join the Liberals' "big red tent".
Ignatieff also cautioned those who are considering casting ballots for the two other major federal parties outside of Quebec.
"If you vote NDP or Green, you will give this country four more years of Stephen Harper," he claimed.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.