Nicolas: Legault’s win reveals a Quebec split in two

Good overview and interesting parallel between the Harper years and Legault:

Montreal is an island. This is a geographical fact, but now more than ever, it is also a social and political reality. Montreal is an island of red and orange, floating in an endless ocean of blue. Or so it appears, if you looked at the electoral map of Quebec the morning after the last provincial campaign.

Urban and rural voting habits tend to differ across the country – not just in Quebec. But a new phenomenon is at play here. Not so long ago, when the Liberals and the Parti Québécois were the dominant forces in Quebec politics, neither could find a pathway to a majority without a decent representation in the metropolis.

Even Maurice Duplessis, who ruled over Quebec with an iron fist during the 1940s and 50s, used to hold more ridings in Montreal than Premier François Legault now has. This is saying a lot, given that there were fewer ridings in the city, and fewer ridings overall back then.

Last Monday night, it felt accurate to speak of a tale of two Quebecs. The differences between Montreal and the “régions” have always existed, as have those between young people and their elders, French Canadians and Quebeckers of other origins. But the divisions seem to have been exacerbated by the province’s recent political debates. There is now Mr. Legault’s Quebec, and the Quebec of those who struggle to see themselves represented in his Coalition Avenir Québec party’s nationalism. Big city dwellers, immigrants and their families, anglophones and young people more generally are struggling to find their place under Mr. Legault’s leadership.

In 2018, Mr. Legault’s CAQ managed to form a majority government with only two members of the National Assembly on the island, both minor players in his caucus. The Premier, who is, interestingly enough, originally a Montrealer himself, knows he doesn’t need Montreal to govern. And it shows.

At the beginning of this first mandate, Mr. Legault put forward Bill 21. The ban on religious symbols for judges, police officers and teachers panders to Quebeckers who hardly, if ever, come in daily contact with religious diversity – while only bearing real, negative consequences for those who do. If this tension between small town and urban Quebec wasn’t already obvious, Mr. Legault stressed it after the adoption of the law. “In Quebec, this is how we live,” he felt necessary to say. To whom, one might ask, if not predominately Montrealers?

In the first year of his mandate, Quebec’s Minister of Immigration also attempted to cancel 18,000 permanent residency applications, mostly coming from newcomers who were already living in the province. The government was forced to backtrack after an intervention by the courts, but many of the applicants caught in this political storm still had to start their permanent residency process all over again, and wait years to get approved. The immigration file, once again, disproportionally affects Montreal.

During the pandemic, Mr. Legault imposed a curfew that disproportionally affected families crammed in small, urban apartments deprived of backyards. The consequences of his policy on the most vulnerable in Montreal did not move him. We learned, after the worst of the crisis was over, that Montreal’s public-health authority had had a difficult relationship with the province on a number of issues. No one was surprised.

And this year’s debate around the adoption of Bill 96, which strengthens the province’s language legislation, also implicitly frames Montreal as a problem. There’s hardly anyone in Quebec who doesn’t understand the vulnerability of French in North America. Yet not all Quebeckers agree on the best means to ensure French continues to thrive.

Those who are in daily contact with linguistic diversity – predominantly Montrealers, once again – are concerned with the sections of Bill 96 that could hinder the human rights of Quebec’s linguistic minorities. For several CAQ supporters, however, opposing parts of Bill 96 is to oppose Quebec, period. The exclusive discourse has made many in the Montreal region feel more isolated and rejected than ever.

In this context, it is not surprising that on Monday night, Mr. Legault’s CAQ made inroads everywhere, except Montreal. During the campaign, some of the Premier’s comments on immigration generated a lot of commentary – and frankly, outrage.

The day after he linked immigration to violent extremism during a press conference, Mr. Legault apologized.

After his Minister for Immigration, Jean Boulet, falsely claimed 80 per cent of immigrants don’t speak French and don’t work, Mr. Legault apologized again.

When addressing the Montreal Chamber of Commerce, the Premier argued that welcoming more than 50,000 immigrants to Quebec a year would be “suicidal.” And during the last weekend of the Quebec campaign, Mr. Legault told journalists, who were asking him about the critiques he had received for his comments, that he would not apologize for defending French and “Quebec values.”

Then on the night of the election, he insisted in his victory speech that he will be the Premier of “all Quebeckers,” including those of “all regions,” and “all origins.”

Confused? You are not alone. Will those who have been deeply wounded by his campaign declarations accept this week’s olive branch? It would have been more likely if Monday’s victory speech had not been preceded by his track record of the past four years.

What’s next for that “other Quebec” – the one that doesn’t see its values represented in some of the CAQ’s nationalism, essentially urban Quebec, diverse Quebec and younger Quebec?

On Tuesday morning, many blamed the first-past-the-post electoral system for the lack of representation at the National Assembly. It is also worth mentioning that ridings in the Montreal region tend to include more voters than those in remote areas. This is because with each review of the electoral map, authorities hesitate to compensate ever-growing urbanization with a widening of the already-gigantic territory of rural ridings.

The easier solution would be having more than a 125 MNAs sitting at the National Assembly. This might help reduce the distortion in how votes are weighted, as least while the Legault government remains firm in its resolve to not embark on an electoral reform.

Another way forward is to essentially remain patient. The CAQ’s base is mostly strong in the 55-plus cohort. As younger generations – and the different notion of “Quebec values” they tend to put forward – increase their weight in the electorate, the political order in the province is bound to shift as well.

That generation is already better represented in the province’s municipal leadership. Big city mayors have played an important role during the campaign, for example, in putting the issues of climate change adaptation and public transportation on the political agenda.

In the next four years, opposition to Mr. Legault will be present, but greatly underrepresented at the National Assembly. It will also be found, however, in city leadership, and most probably in civil society, as well as among Quebec’s culture and media personalities.

Like the unnamed resistance that emerged in urban, central Canada during the majority Harper years, you might see an informal coalition working to push to bring the values of The Other Quebec – big city dwellers, immigrants and young people – to the forefront.

Source: Legault’s win reveals a Quebec split in two

Why Quebec’s election turned into a slugfest over immigration

Not a bad overview. Election will likely demonstrate the weakness of first-past-the-post in situations of one dominant party and a number of smaller parties:

David Heurtel walked into the room and immediately spotted the angry man at the back.

It was November 2017 and the Quebec Liberal Party’s immigration minister was hosting a town-hall meeting in Sainte-Claire, a town across the river from Quebec City, in a rural region that is considered the province’s nationalist conservative heartland.

The man he spotted was typical of the local population. Older, white and francophone.

And he emanated a lingering, pent-up frustration.

“I said, ‘Oh, that guy is going to give me trouble at some point,’” Heurtel, a lawyer, recalled in an interview.

And he did.

Toward the end of the meeting, the man raised his hand. Heurtel braced himself and invited the man to air his grievance.

But it was not what he was expecting.

Not a complaint about Muslims or hijabs. Not about clashes of cultures and Quebec values. Not about the thousands of asylum seekers who had begun streaming across the border the previous summer. Not about the French-language abilities of newcomers to the province.

Not about any of these sinkhole political debates that appear with troubling regularity in Quebec, sucking in elected officials, media commentators, activists and community associations.

“He says, ‘For Christ’s sake, I need workers! I don’t give a damn if they’re red, purple, yellow or green. I need workers right now and I’ll teach them French myself!’” Heurtel recounted, speaking in Quebec’s working-class joual to fully express the colourful language.

Five years later, after the economic ravages of the pandemic and the continued aging of the population, the “Workers Wanted” refrain has only grown in desperation. In this sense, Quebec is no different from Ontario, Alberta or any other Canadian province or territory.

Which is why the combination of political punches launched this week by candidates, in the final days of an otherwise sleepy Quebec election campaign that will be decided next Monday, was so difficult to comprehend.

The sequence opened with an innocuous jab, the likes of which have sadly become a routine occurrence in Quebec politics.

A candidate for the sovereigntist Parti Québécois, Lyne Jubinville, was exposed by Montreal’s Le Devoir and forced to apologize for anti-Islam rants about “hijabs” that “increasingly invade our public space,” and about mosques and Muslim calls to prayer taking the place of emptied Catholic churches and silenced church bells.

It was followed by a hook from Jean Boulet, Heurtel’s successor as immigration minister, who belongs to the governing centre-right party Coalition Avenir Québec. In a clip from a local election debate held a week prior, he appeared to write off newcomers to Quebec as good-for-nothings.

“Eighty per cent of immigrants go to Montreal, don’t work, don’t speak French or don’t accept the values of Quebec society,” he said in the debate.

Boulet apologized for the tone of his comments, which he said were not an expression of his beliefs, but he was denounced by Quebec Premier François Legault, who said the minister had talked himself out of his ministerial post if he is re-elected on Oct. 3.

But then Legault himself delivered the roundhouse shot that left so many in this province seeing stars.

He delivered a speech to the Metropolitan Montreal Chamber of Commerce — an audience of employers and big-business owners — and spoke about this summer’s census report, which showed declines in the number of people who speak French across the country.

Legault said that if his party is re-elected, it would put in place tougher French-language requirements for immigrants and try to ensure that more of them settle in outlying regions of Quebec.

“But until we have stopped the decline of French,” he continued, “I think that for the Quebec nation that wants to protect its language it would be a little suicidal to go and increase immigration levels.”

“Suicidal.” The comments set off waves of anxiety among Quebec immigrants and second-generation Quebecers.

A journalist with the TVA network, Chu Anh Pham, wrote on Twitter about her parents, who fled the Vietnam War and settled in Montreal.

“Since they arrived here, they have always worked. We all learned French in Montreal and have never relied on social assistance. I have a tonne of other examples.”

Mamadou Doukara replied to her message and expanded on his experience in a radio interview. He explained how he spent his father’s inheritance to get from Mali to Quebec on a student visa, but immediately set about looking for work to reduce the financial burden on his family.

“Every provincial election was a source of stress,” noted Bao Long Hoang, another immigrant to Quebec, who wrote that he now lives in Ottawa. “So much stupidity voiced without shame.”

Dr. Joseph Dahine, an intensive care specialist who immigrated with his family to Montreal when he was a young child, said he likely never would have been able to afford his studies in medicine if his family had parents had immigrated to the United States.

He said Quebec should be celebrating what it has to offer — affordable daycare, publicly funded health care, low tuition fees and other attractions — rather than eternally fretting about cultural differences and religious backgrounds and mastery of the French language.

“Language is not the menace. It’s not the threat,” Dahine said in an interview. “It’s actually the reason why people come here. It’s usually their second language and they feel they could get by. They see an opportunity.”

Dahine likened the immigration process to joining a team and wanting to fit in. “You want to see people having fun, celebrating their culture. You want to look at these people and be inspired and say, ‘I want to be just like them,’” he said.

“As long as it’s a speech about the fear of losing something, it’s not an inspiring speech. Who wants to fit in with a group that is always talking about the fear of losing?”

Apart from the message such comments send to immigrants and homegrown Quebecers alike, Legault’s dark, defeatist tone is at odds with the great efforts and investments that the CAQ has made as a government, said Catherine Xhardez, an assistant professor of political science who specializes in immigration at Université de Montréal.

“They have this discourse that is a little alarmist and make these dark declarations,” she said. “In fact, the numbers are good and with (the Coalition Avenir Québec’s) policies they have invested a lot of money in francization (teaching French to newcomers) and integration.”

She also noted that the number of permits for temporary foreign workers has “exploded” under the CAQ. Recent statistics show the number of permits more than doubled from 13,030 in 2017 — the year before Legault’s party came to power — to 30,340 in 2021, the CBC reported.

“That’s what I find a little paradoxical with these dark speeches,” Xhardez said. “Do they think it’s useful to make comments that are much harsher than their policies? Because their policies have not been hard on immigration.”

It’s not just the CAQ, though. The immigration platforms of three of the five major parties competing in Monday’s elections hit similar notes.

The Parti Québécois, a diminished political force in recent years, proposes that knowledge of the French language, Quebec culture and the obligations and expectations that accompany citizenship be mandatory before immigrants set foot in the province.

And the newly significant Quebec Conservative Party, led by former radio shock jock Éric Duhaime, has suggested that new immigrants be screened to ensure they are “civilizationally compatible” with Quebec’s values, though Duhaime has taken steps in the campaign to distance himself from the term.

The other two parties, the Liberals and Québec Solidaire, have pro-immigration platforms. The left-wing QS promises to make it easier to have foreign education and employment credentials recognized; the Liberals suggest that priority be given to immigrants to immediately fill the gaps in health care, education and other in-demand sectors of the economy.

“Immigration is a solution. It’s not a problem,” said Heurtel, who said he is no longer an active member of any party. “Companies want them. Society wants them in general and the fact is that they’re a positive, not a negative.”

But for now, that ugly “Make Quebec Great Again” discourse persists, if only to drive the votes of those who feel most threatened by living on a French-speaking island in the midst of an English-speaking ocean.

Heurtel said the tendency will only be reversed by a radical change in the province’s political culture or a change to the voting system. As things stand ahead of Monday’s vote, the Coalition Avenir Québec are expected to win about 99 of the National Assembly’s 125 seats with just 39 per cent of the votes, according to opinion poll aggregator

The Liberals (16 per cent) are projected to take about 20 seats, Québec Solidaire (15 per cent) 10 seats and the PQ (15 per cent) just three. Despite having 14 per cent support, the Conservatives are not projected to win any seats.

But in politics, opinions and policies and allegiances are always shifting.

In politicians’ attitudes toward immigration, toward newcomers, there will be changes as well, said Dahine, the doctor. It just might take a while.

“As immigration happens — because it’s going to happen, because people need workers and brains and hands and arms — kids are going to grow up with a different picture of what society is. It’s going to be the new normal and one day it won’t be about where you come from but, ‘Hey! You’re from here as well,’” he said.

“It’s as though you’ll have a different flavour you add to the original Quebec recipe. Let’s put it that way.”

Source: Why Quebec’s election turned into a slugfest over immigration

How Quebec’s 1995 referendum was a turning point for racist comments in political discourse that’s still felt

Of note:

Standing on a stage in Montreal Wednesday night, singer Allison Russell recalled what it was like to live in the city after the Parti Québécois lost the referendum 27 years ago.

“I was spat on, called a monkey and told to go back to Africa,” Russell, who is Black and was born in Montreal, told the audience.

In defeat, former premier Jacques Parizeau had blamed the 1995 loss on “money and ethnic votes.”

Russell, who was 17 at the time, said the comments sparked racist acts in the streets and contributed to her decision to move away shortly afterward. She compared the remark to recent comments about immigration made by Coalition Avenir Québec candidate Jean Boulet and party leader François Legault.

The topic has dominated political discourse in the last days and weeks of the campaign.

In a local debate on Radio-Canada last week, Boulet — who serves as both the province’s labour and immigration minister —  said “80 per cent of immigrants go to Montreal, don’t work, don’t speak French or don’t adhere to the values of Quebec society.”

After Radio-Canada brought the comments to light this week, Boulet issued an apology on Twitter, saying he misspoke and that the statement about immigrants not working and not speaking French “does not reflect what I think.”

Legault said Boulet didn’t deserve to keep the immigration file if re-elected. But Legault himself said Monday that welcoming more than 50,000 immigrants per year would be “a bit suicidal,”referring to the protection of the French language.

Earlier this month, Legault apologized for citing the threat of “extremism” and “violence” as well as the need to preserve Quebec’s way of life as reasons to limit the number of immigrants to the province.

Aly Ndiaye, a Quebec-city based historian and rapper also known as Webster, said he sees the 1995 referendum loss and Parizeau’s remark as a turning point for Quebec nationalism that made way for the kind of things Boulet and Legault have said this election campaign.

From inclusive nationalism to a change in Quebec identity

In the 1960s and 70s, Quebec’s nationalist movement was intent on being progressive and inclusive, Ndiaye said. The movement was inspired by decolonization and revolutions happening across the world at the time — it was looking “outward,” he said.

“After Parizeau, there was a closure,” Ndiaye said. Quebec nationalism turned inward, he added.

“There started to be a more exclusive vision of Quebec identity… That’s what Legault represents.”

What worries Ndiaye is the fact that such comments are rarely labelled as racist, despite the fact that they stem from a vision of society that sees immigrants and their descendants as “second-class citizens.”

“The Legault government is a racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic government,” Ndiaye said. “It’s aberrant.”

Hate calls

Fo Niemi, who founded the Montreal Center for Research-Action on Race Relations (CRARR) in 1983, said he remembers the Parizeau moment clearly.

“I almost fell off my chair,” he said.

Niemi said the centre received hate calls in the days following the Oct. 30, 1995 vote and stopped answering the phone for two or three days as a result.

When it comes to racist comments made in this year’s provincial election, Niemi said that while there is a possibility they could lead to violence, or aggression against immigrants, they could also lead to an overall negative attitude in Quebec toward immigration and immigrants.

“Let’s be clear, we’re not talking about all immigrants. We’re talking about immigrants who are clearly identifiable, i.e. non-white immigrants.”

He agrees with Ndiaye about the hesitation to name racism.

“They don’t call a spade a spade,” Niemi said, calling the CAQ remarks “dog whistle politics,” which refers to the use of messages that convey a particular — usually racist — sentiment to a target audience.

Evelyn Calugay, who runs PINAY, a Filipino women’s rights group, said she remembers hearing about comments made to people in her community as well as to people of Chinese descent in 1995.

Stuff like, “You don’t know how to speak French? Go back to where you belong, where you came from,” Calugay said.

“They will always have somebody to blame and the people they have to blame are always the minorities, the marginalized — because they are a bunch of racists to me!” she said with a bit of a laugh.

Calugay came to Quebec in 1975 to work as a nurse. She is 76.

What happens after the election?

The CAQ isn’t the only party to have come under fire for anti-immigrant sentiments. Comments about Quebec Muslims from Parti Québécois candidates Lyne Jubinville, Suzanne Gagnon and Pierre Vanier and his wife Catherine Provost have surfaced in the past two weeks.

Vanier, the candidate for Rousseau, and Provost, the candidate for neighbouring L’Assomption, were both suspended by PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon Friday for posts they made on social media, one of which questioned the intelligence of Muslim women who wear head scarves.

Whatever the election result Monday, Niemi says his concern is what will happen afterward.

“Are we going to talk about the negative fallout of all of these, shall we say, hateful statements?” he said. “What credibility will the government have to address racism and xenophobia and any other negative consequence of these statements?”

As for Russell, the Quebec-born singer now lives in Nashville with her family and recently, after playing in well-known American folk bands, began a solo career with her album Outside Child.

Source: How Quebec’s 1995 referendum was a turning point for racist comments in political discourse that’s still felt

Legault says accepting more than 50,000 immigrants in Quebec per year would be ‘a bit suicidal’

Unlikely to have any impact in the election but another in a series of dog whistle politics, unlike the immigration minister who states his positions clearly (before having to apologize and retract – see Le Devoir article following this one for the factual analysis. You would of course like to think that a minister responsible for immigration would have the basic facts right):
The Coalition Avenir Québec is once again coming under fire for comments about immigration, including party leader François Legault saying that welcoming more than 50,000 immigrants per year would be “a bit suicidal.” Legault made that statement on Monday at the Montreal Chamber of Commerce while alluding to the need to protect the French language. Although his words drew criticism from his opponents, Legault also reprimanded one of his ministers on Monday for making his own controversial remarks about immigration. During a local debate on Radio-Canada last week, Jean Boulet — who serves as both the province’s labour and immigration minister —  said “80 per cent of immigrants go to Montreal, don’t work, don’t speak French or don’t adhere to the values of Quebec society.” Boulet then touted his party’s efforts to better welcome newcomers and get them speaking French. Shortly after Radio-Canada reached out to Boulet’s team today, he issued an apology on Twitter, saying he misspoke and the statement about immigrants not working and not speaking French “does not reflect what I think.” “I am sorry for having poorly expressed my thoughts,” said Boulet, who is seeking re-election in the Trois-Rivières riding. “We must continue to focus on the reception … and integration of immigrants, who are a source of wealth for Quebec.” Despite the apology, his words appeared to have cost him his immigration portfolio, if the CAQ is re-elected. Legault described Boulet’s statement as “unacceptable.” He was also asked if Boulet could remain as immigration minister if the CAQ is re-elected. “Unfortunately, I don’t think so,” he told Radio-Canada, adding that it’s a “question of image, perception and trust.” The CAQ campaign has been marred by controversial comments on immigration. Three weeks ago, Legault apologized for citing the threat of “extremism” and “violence” as well as the need to preserve Quebec’s way of life as reasons to limit the number of immigrants to the province.
That same week, he said non-French speaking immigration, if not limited in number, could pose a threat to social cohesion in the province.

Opponents blast Legault’s party for ‘divisive’ message

Opponents of the CAQ blasted the comments made by Legault and Boulet. During a news conference on Monday, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, the co-spokesperson for Québec Solidaire said Legault’s comments about welcoming more than 50,000 newcomers per year were “hurtful” and “irresponsible.” Reporters also played him audio of Boulet’s comments. Nadeau-Dubois accused Legault of setting the tone within his party when it came to talking about immigration. “Since the beginning of the campaign, what Mr. Legault has done is send the signal that when you talk about immigration, you talk about it in a negative way, a divisive way,” he said.
When Mr. Legault sets the tone like that and says that immigration is dangerous for Quebec, it’s not only hurting people, it’s, I think, deeply not representative of what Quebecers actually think.” During her own news conference, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade described Boulet’s comments as “mind-boggling.” “It’s dividing Quebecers. It’s dividing the population,” she said. Anglade called on Quebecers to put an end to the CAQ’s “politics of division.” “There are two options on the table. There’s this one option where we’ve already hit a wall and we keep dividing Quebecers…. And there’s another route: the route of the Liberal party where we say we need to unite.” She also said Legault’s reference to suicide showed a “flagrant lack of empathy.”
Source: Legault says accepting more than 50,000 immigrants in Quebec per year would be ‘a bit suicidal’
« 80 % des immigrants s’en vont à Montréal, ne travaillent pas, ne parlent pas français ou n’adhèrent pas aux valeurs de la société québécoise. La clé, c’est la régionalisation et la francisation. » Cette citation du ministre sortant de l’Immigration, Jean Boulet, a lancé un pavé dans la mare des débats sur l’immigration au Québec. Qu’en est-il réellement ? Vérification en trois graphiques. La part de nouveaux arrivants qui s’installent à Montréal décline au Québec depuis 2018. Pas plus de 70 % d’entre eux préféraient la métropole l’an dernier, selon l’Institut de la statistique du Québec. Par contre, si l’on entend par « Montréal », « Montréal et ses banlieues », Jean Boulet n’a pas tort. Année après année, plus de 80 % des Néo-Québécois s’établissent soit sur l’île de Montréal, soit à Laval ou en Montérégie. Au-delà de la dichotomie entre Montréal et les régions, notons que la ville de Québec attire de plus en plus d’immigrants depuis quelques années, passant de 5 % en 2018 à 8 % en 2021. Ces données ne concernent que les « destinations projetées » des candidats admis à l’immigration. Leur destination finale peut donc différer, et leur destination déclarée ne signifie pas qu’ils y resteront toute leur vie. La « francisation » Les nouveaux arrivants ne parlent-ils pas français ? En effet, il y a quatre ou cinq ans, la moitié d’entre eux ne possédaient aucune connaissance du français. La part d’immigrants qui ne pouvait s’exprimer qu’en anglais dépassait alors la proportion de ceux qui ne pouvaient s’exprimer qu’en français. Depuis, la tendance s’est inversée, et c’est plutôt le bilinguisme qui domine sur la langue des nouveaux Québécois. Nous pouvons même parler de multilinguisme, car environ 70 % des nouveaux arrivants possèdent une langue maternelle qui n’est ni le français ni l’anglais. Statistique Canada recense environ 150 langues maternelles différentes parlées dans les chaumières du Québec. Au boulot Les immigrants sont-ils majoritairement sans emploi ? Il est vrai que les Néo-Québécois, surtout ceux qui viennent tout juste d’arriver, peinent davantage à trouver de l’emploi. L’écart entre le taux de chômage de Québécois nés ici et ceux nés ailleurs s’explique surtout par la difficulté à faire reconnaître les compétences, observait une récente étude du Comité consultatif personnes immigrantes. Même s’il est en baisse, le taux de chômage des immigrants n’a pas retrouvé les seuils d’avant la pandémie. Cependant, la statistique inverse, le taux d’emploi, démontre que les nouveaux arrivants veulent travailler plus que jamais. En 2021, le nombre de personnes immigrantes en emploi au Québec s’élevait à 818 700, un sommet depuis 2006, soit la première année où ces données ont été compilées. Cette croissance s’observe autant chez les personnes immigrantes arrivées au pays récemment que chez celles établies de longue date. Le Québec a même rattrapé l’Ontario en matière d’emploi chez les immigrants dans la force de l’âge. Près de 82 % des Néo-Québécois entre 25 et 54 ans sont occupés par le boulot, comparativement à 81 % dans la province voisine, selon le dernier rapport de l’Institut du Québec.
Source: Les propos de Jean Boulet à l’épreuve des faits

Quebec election: Immigration becomes political fodder as parties spar over ‘capacity’

More takes on the Quebec immigration election debates. Appears, however, that immigration has receded somewhat as a focus of the campaign. But the hope of the Conseil du patronat for discussions “in a calm, factual and rational way” is likely a stretch:

The head of a major employers’ group in Quebec says an election campaign is not the time to have a serious discussion about immigration.

Campaign slogans and political messages aren’t suited for rational conversations about how newcomers contribute positively to the economy, Karl Blackburn, president and CEO of the Conseil du patronat du Québec, said in a recent interview.

“And we are very much aware that these are sensitive issues, particularly around language,” Blackburn said.

But three weeks in, party leaders have not shied away from putting immigration front and centre in the Quebec campaign. The debate has so far been su

Blackburn, meanwhile, says Quebec has the capacity — and desperately needs — to accept up to 100,000 immigrants a year in order to address labour shortages that are negatively affecting the quality, price and availability of goods and services across Quebec. That number is a non-starter for Legault, whose party has a commanding lead in the polls and who wants to keep the level of immigrants at 50,000 per year — the maximum, he says, that Quebec can integrate properly and teach French.

Political scientists and economists, however, say there isn’t any research that offers definitive answers to the question of how many immigrants a society — including Quebec — can welcome.

For Pierre Fortin, professor emeritus of economics at Université du Québec à Montréal, Blackburn’s number is “wacky” and would bring “administrative chaos” to society. Increasing immigration levels to more than 80,000 a year, he said, risks creating “xenophobia and racism” toward immigrants and pushing voters into the arms of people who would drastically cut the number of newcomers to the province.

But Mireille Paquet, political science professor at Concordia University, strongly challenged that theory, adding that the research is inconclusive.

“What we know for sure,” she said, “is that what causes the backlash (against immigrants) is not, per se, the number of immigrants but feelings of insecurity in the non-immigrant population, and that feeling can be brought up by public policies, such as cutting social services … it’s something politicians can address,” she said in a recent interview.

Paquet said the idea that there is a limited “capacity to integrate” is often touted by restrictionists and people on the right as a reason to curtail immigration. The debate, she said, should not be around the rate of arrival or the number of annual immigrants, but on what the government is going to do to ease feelings of insecurity in the local population.

“It also depends on what is our expectation of integration,” she said. “What is good integration? That has changed over time, and that will continue to change.”

The debate over immigration during the election campaign has also focused on whether more newcomers would help solve the labour shortages plaguing the province. 

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon says it won’t, and he is promising to cut immigration to 35,000 a year and only accept people who already speak French. The Liberals’ number is 70,000 newcomers a year, and Québec solidaire says it wants to accept up to 80,000 immigrants a year in order to have enough people to help build its ambitious climate change projects.

Fortin is adamant that immigrants do not address labour shortages but could even exacerbate them. Even if a company solves its labour problems by hiring foreigners, he said, those newcomers will be looking to spend money, consume services and products, seek health care, and enrol their children in school.

That extra spending creates demand and requires more production from Quebec companies, Fortin said. “You solve a shortage in one area and it reappears in another.”

His solution, however, is not politically palatable — especially during an election campaign. The only way to solve labour shortages, he said, is to increase unemployment.

Blackburn, for his part, is calling on whichever party wins on Oct. 3 to convene a forum with stakeholders to discuss — in a calm, factual and rational way — the best way to address the labour shortages that he says are causing billions in dollars of losses to companies across the province.

“We should not see immigrants as consumers of public services,” Blackburn said. “They are here to contribute to the economic vitality of Quebec.”

Source: Quebec election: Immigration becomes political fodder as parties spar over ‘capacity’

Non-Francophone immigration a threat to ‘tightly woven’ Quebec cohesion: Legault

Not a dog-whistle, a megaphone, but unlikely to change the results:

Non-Francophone immigration is a threat to cohesion in Quebec, incumbent premier François Legault said Sunday.

The leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) party had just delivered a speech to a few hundred supporters at the Le Dauphin hotel in Drummondville.

He addressed the importance of protecting the cohesion of the “tightly woven” Quebec nation, at the heart of which “there is our language, French.”

“Sometimes, this cohesion is shaken,” he said.

“The premier of Quebec, the only head of state in North America who represents a majority of Francophones, has a duty to stop the decline of French in Quebec,” he continued.

Asked in a press scrum who represented a threat to national cohesion, Legault pointed to the parties “who want to welcome 70,000, 80,000 newcomers a year.”

“It’s like math. If we want to stop the decline, for a certain period of time, we have to better integrate newcomers into French.”

François Legault’s CAQ has a goal of welcoming 50,000 immigrants annually, 80 per cent of whom would speak French upon arrival.

The Parti Québécois (PQ) would lower those thresholds to 35,000, while the Quebec Liberal Party would keep them at 70,000 and Quebec solidaire (QS) would raise them to 80,000.

Last Wednesday, Legault created a controversy when he spoke of Quebec values such as pacifism and respect, and equated immigration with violence and extremism.

He later said he was sorry if his remarks were confusing.


Quebec solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois called Legault’s words on immigration “clumsy” and “hurtful” on Sunday.

“I’m tired of François Legault always talking about immigration as a problem, as a threat, as something that weakens us as a nation,” he said.

His remarks were also criticized by Liberal leader Dominique Anglade.

“The Ukrainians who flee the bombs, the Italians, the Greeks, the Mexicans, the Portuguese, the Vietnamese, (…) is it a threat to our nation?” she questioned.

“It is your speech François Legault that threatens social cohesion,” she said.

PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon also criticized Legault for making “divisive statements” that were “not very responsible.”

“When we talk about threats, fear, we will play in an emotional register to try to make people forget that the CAQ is complicit and largely responsible for the decline of French,” he accused.

“The record of François Legault is that he will have welcomed 120,000 immigrants who do not speak French in his mandate,” St-Pierre Plamondon added.


On Sunday, Legault disagreed with the incumbent MNA for Sherbrooke, Christine Labrie, who said that banning the veil was a form of oppression.

QS promises to end the ban on religious symbols for government employees in positions of authority, such as teachers.

“We should, if we talk about teachers, think about children,” replied François Legault. “I think that a six-year-old girl who has a teacher with a religious sign has the right to a certain neutrality.”

“If you look at it from the point of view of the person who gives the service, well, it is a constraint, but if you look at it from the point of view of the person who receives the service, I think that in Quebec, we are a secular society,” he continued.

“I find it unfortunate that QS wants to question this, like the Liberal party.”

Source: Non-Francophone immigration a threat to ‘tightly woven’ Quebec cohesion: Legault

André Pratte: Quebec political parties are competing for the worst immigration policy

Pratte captures well the conundrum facing Quebec – increase immigration to match the rest of Canada and maintain its current demographic and political weight, or continue its relative population decline in relation to other provinces and thus face future questioning of its share of MPs.
That being said, governments in the rest of Canada would benefit from greater questioning of the demographic arguments (weak) justifying increased immigration levels:
Week 2 of the Quebec election campaign was dominated by the immigration issue: how many newcomers should the province welcome each year? Premier François Legault’s answer was telling: his models are Switzerland and the Scandinavian states, which he described as “extraordinarily wealthy, dynamic countries.” The problem is that if it excessively limits immigration, Quebec risks becoming a small, relatively poor nation.
Throughout Quebec’s history, immigration has been a sensitive topic. Before 1960, foreigners were seen as a threat to the province’s Catholicism. Since the Quiet Revolution, Quebecers have been concerned about the French language’s future. The latest census data released by Statistics Canada in August appear to confirm that because a significant number of immigrants to Quebec adopt English as their second language, the proportion of French speakers in the province is slowly decreasing.

Source: André Pratte: Quebec political parties are competing for the worst immigration policy

Lien entre immigration et valeurs: Legault admet avoir manqué de prudence

Of note. An innocent gaffe or one that reveals his thinking?

Le chef caquiste, François Legault, a reconnu jeudi qu’il a manqué de prudence en faisant le lien entre l’immigration et les valeurs québécoises, au lendemain d’une déclaration qui a semé la controverse.

Lors d’un point de presse, M. Legault est revenu sur ses propos de la veille, qui ont plongé sa campagne dans l’embarras.

« Je ne suis pas parfait, a-t-il concédé. Tous les États dans le monde ont un défi d’intégration aux valeurs du pays ou de l’État qui reçoit. Maintenant, il ne faut pas nommer quelles valeurs parce que ça pourrait créer un amalgame. Effectivement, je n’aurais pas dû nommer de valeurs. »

Mercredi, François Legault avait justifié la décision de son parti de maintenir le nombre d’immigrants reçus à 50 000 personnes en faisant valoir que les défis posés par l’intégration pourraient compromettre certaines valeurs québécoises.

Il avait notamment mentionné le pacifisme et la laïcité, ajoutant que les Québécois n’aiment pas la violence ni l’extrémisme. Ces paroles ont été dénoncées par ses adversaires, qui y ont vu un dérapage et un amalgame dangereux.

Sujet délicat

Jeudi, M. Legault a affirmé qu’il aurait dû limiter son propos aux défis que pose l’intégration des immigrants en ce qui concerne la langue française.

« J’ai répondu aux questions sur les valeurs alors que c’est un sujet délicat que je devrais éviter, a-t-il dit. Mais quand on parle de langue, je pense que c’est une question fondamentale pour l’avenir de la nation québécoise. »

Dès le début de son point de presse, M. Legault a abordé la controverse soulevée par ses propos, qui l’ont forcé à se rétracter en fin de journée mercredi.

« Je n’ai jamais voulu associer l’immigration et la violence, a-t-il dit. Maintenant, ce que j’ai voulu dire, c’est que tous les États dans le monde ont un défi d’intégrer les nouveaux arrivants à leurs valeurs et à leur langue. Mais au Québec, c’est un défi particulier à cause de la situation de la langue en Amérique du Nord. C’est tout ce que j’ai voulu dire. »

Anglade rejette les excuses

La cheffe libérale, Dominique Anglade, a rejeté jeudi les excuses de M. Legault, qu’elle a accusé de perpétuer des préjugés. Elle a fait référence aux propos du chef caquiste au printemps, quand il a réclamé de nouveaux pouvoirs en immigration pour éviter au Québec d’être la prochaine « Louisiane ».

« Je ne le crois pas parce que c’est lui-même qui nous a entretenus de la question de la Louisiane et des enjeux de l’immigration, que c’était un problème, qu’il faut faire attention, a-t-elle dit. C’est lui qui entretient ça, et là, ce qu’on voit, c’est la véritable face de François Legault. »

Mettant en avant les valeurs d’inclusion et d’ouverture du Parti libéral du Québec, Mme Anglade a maintenu que M. Legault avait fait le lien entre l’immigration et la violence.

« François Legault a livré le fond de sa pensée, a-t-elle soutenu. L’autre, celui qui n’est pas comme nous, il peut être dangereux. Ça, ça continue à alimenter les préjugés. On n’a pas besoin de ça au Québec. »

Après avoir fait de l’économie l’enjeu principal de ces élections, Mme Anglade a affirmé que le scrutin se jouera aussi sur les questions de division ou d’inclusion.

« Nous, on a des valeurs d’inclusion, on a des valeurs de véritable développement économique moderne », a-t-elle dit.

Excuses publiques

Même si François Legault a corrigé le tir mercredi sur le réseau social Twitter en disant ne pas avoir « voulu associer l’immigration à la violence », le co-porte-parole de Québec solidaire Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois estime qu’il doit « s’excuser publiquement ». Le chef caquiste doit « répondre aux questions », a-t-il ajouté.

Ce sont « des déclarations qui alimentent les préjugés et détériorent le climat social », a-t-il souligné, en marge d’une annonce en habitation. M. Nadeau-Dubois a appelé le chef de la Coalition avenir Québec à considérer les immigrants comme des « êtres humains en chair et en os » et non comme des chiffres et des statistiques.

De son côté, le chef péquiste, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, a voulu se placer au-dessus de la mêlée.

« Dans l’ensemble, c’étaient vraisemblablement des propos inappropriés, a-t-il dit. Mais il s’est excusé. Donc, j’en prends acte. J’invite tout le monde à mener une campagne axée sur l’avenir, mais qui a le potentiel de rassembler. »

Source: Lien entre immigration et valeurs: Legault admet avoir manqué de prudence

David: Les pommes québécoises et les oranges suisses [immigration], Yakabuski: In Quebec, immigration takes centre stage again on the campaign trail

More on Quebec election immigration debates, starting with Michel Davidd:

François Legault a cette fâcheuse habitude de prendre des raccourcis intellectuels qui déforment la réalité à sa convenance, comme il le fait presque quotidiennement dans le dossier du troisième lien.

Pour justifier sa décision de limiter le nombre d’immigrants à 50 000 par année alors que le gouvernement Trudeau prévoit en accueillir jusqu’à 450 000 pour l’ensemble du Canada, le chef de la CAQ a fait valoir les avantages des petits pays comme la Suisse et les États scandinaves.

Personne ne doute de leur extraordinaire réussite dans une multitude de domaines où une population plus nombreuse peut compliquer les choses. Il est clair que la taille n’est aucunement un gage de richesse ou de qualité de vie.

M. Legault sait cependant très bien qu’il compare des pommes et des oranges quand il établit un parallèle entre des États qui détiennent tous les attributs de la souveraineté et une simple province dont les pouvoirs sont limités, notamment en matière d’immigration. Que leur voisin allemand ouvre les vannes de l’immigration n’empêche en rien la Suisse ou le Danemark de fixer leurs propres règles sans provoquer chez eux un quelconque déséquilibre démographique ou politique.

Il va de soi qu’une explosion du nombre d’immigrants au Canada anglais, alors que le Québec choisit de le limiter, ne peut qu’affaiblir son poids au sein de la fédération et rendre encore plus difficile sa capacité d’affirmer sa différence.

Et suivre le mouvement canadien, ce qui imposerait au Québec d’accueillir 100 000 immigrants par année, compromettrait encore plus sûrement son caractère français, dont les chiffres du dernier recensement ont encore démontré la fragilité.
* * * * * 
Même dans un État souverain, la capacité d’intégration des nouveaux arrivants a ses limites. En avril dernier, la première ministre suédoise, Magdalena Andersson, déclarait que son pays « n’avait pas réussi à intégrer les nombreux immigrés qu’il a accueillis au cours des deux dernières décennies, ce qui a donné naissance à des sociétés parallèles et à la violence des gangs ».

Issue du Parti social-démocrate, Mme Andersson n’est pourtant pas une politicienne de droite adepte de la théorie complotiste du « grand remplacement ». La Suède s’est montrée très généreuse — peut-être trop — lors de la crise migratoire de 2015, en étant le pays européen à accueillir le plus grand nombre de migrants par habitant. « Nous allons devoir revoir nos vérités antérieures et prendre des décisions difficiles », a relevé la première ministre.

Le Québec n’est évidemment pas seul à tenter de concilier le désir de préserver son identité et la nécessité de répondre aux besoins du marché du travail. Au
Danemark, également dirigé par une première ministre sociale-démocrate, Mette Frederiksen, une politique migratoire très restrictive se traduit par un taux de chômage très bas et un manque criant de main-d’oeuvre.
* * * * * 
S’il est difficile pour un État souverain de trouver le juste équilibre, cela devient pratiquement impossible pour le gouvernement qui ne dispose pas de tous les éléments pour résoudre l’équation.

Il y a quelque chose de surréaliste dans le débat sur les seuils d’immigration auquel la présente campagne électorale donne lieu. Chaque parti semble tirer un chiffre de son chapeau, bien qu’il n’ait aucun pouvoir sur la sélection de la moitié de ceux qu’il compte accueillir et ne soit pas en mesure d’évaluer la capacité d’intégration de la société québécoise.

Au-delà de la « compatibilité civilisationnelle » évoquée par le Parti conservateur du Québec, il va de soi qu’un plus grand nombre de personnes exige plus de logements, de places en garderie, de travailleurs de la santé, d’enseignants, etc. Ce qui exige précisément de disposer de tous les outils nécessaires.

Le rapatriement des pouvoirs en matière d’immigration est la seule réclamation commune aux cinq partis, qu’ils soient fédéralistes ou souverainistes. Mais le refus d’Ottawa demeure toujours aussi catégorique.

Jean Charest avait espéré que Stephen Harper fasse preuve d’ouverture. François Legault avait misé sans trop y croire sur Andrew Scheer, puis sur Erin O’Toole. S’il devient premier ministre, Éric Duhaime se fait fort de convaincre Pierre Poilievre et ses homologues conservateurs au Canada anglais. Cela demeure bien hypothétique, c’est le moins qu’on puisse dire.

De passage à la table éditoriale du Devoir, mardi, le chef conservateur a proposé une démarche commune de tous les partis représentés à l’Assemblée nationale, ce qui apparaît déjà plus plausible, sans toutefois offrir la moindre garantie de succès.

Depuis le début de la campagne, M. Legault n’a pas reparlé de la grande conversation nationale sur l’immigration qu’il avait évoquée au printemps dernier sans en préciser la forme, mais il faudra bien faire quelque chose. Si cet exercice pouvait simplement permettre de séparer les pommes et les oranges, ce serait déjà quelque chose.

Source: Les pommes québécoises et les oranges suisses

And from the Globe’s Yakabuski, a good overview:

It wouldn’t be an election campaign in Quebec without a debate about immigration.

Elsewhere in the country, elections come and go without much talk about immigration. A broad consensus exists on the topic across the political spectrum and political parties rarely, if ever, seek to differentiate themselves on the issue. That, it seems, is the Canadian way.

In Quebec, however, immigration has become a hot-button issue that features prominently in party platforms. The issue played a determining role in the 2018 campaign as the Coalition Avenir Québec’s signature promise to slash the number of newcomers the province accepts each year propelled it to victory over the Quebec Liberal Party. Under then-premier Philippe Couillard, the Liberals had set an annual target of 60,000 permanent residents; the CAQ, under François Legault, vowed to cut the number to 40,000. It crushed the Liberals.

Within a couple of years, though, the CAQ government increased its annual target for new permanent residents – to 50,000 – and oversaw an explosion in temporary foreign workers to help alleviate a severe labour shortage amid a clamouring for employees from the business sector. The somewhat ironic result is that Quebec has seen a greater influx of foreigners under the CAQ – to more than 93,000 in 2019 and 100,000 expected this year – than it ever did under the Liberals. Proof that there is a lot more than meets the eye on the immigration file.

The nuances get lost on the campaign trail, however, as the parties once again go at each other over immigration levels in advance of the Oct. 3 provincial election.

Mr. Legault maintains that the CAQ’s 50,000 cap on permanent residents represents the number of newcomers the province can integrate each year without threatening its French character. On Monday, he conceded that Quebec’s population is destined to continue to decline as a share of the Canadian population as Ottawa boosts national immigration targets to 450,000 permanent residents in 2024. But that is the price Quebec must pay to remain an island of French in North America.

Besides, small is beautiful. “Switzerland is an extraordinarily rich, and extraordinarily dynamic, small country,” Mr. Legault said. “Being big might be nice, but what’s important is having a [high] quality of life for the people who live in Quebec.”

But maintaining Quebeckers’ quality of life will become an increasing challenge as the province’s working-age population shrinks and the proportion of seniors rises to 24.8 per cent in 2030 from 20.3 per cent in 2021, according to the Quebec Finance Ministry’s own projections. With a population aging faster than the rest of the country outside Atlantic Canada, future economic growth will be severely handicapped.

That reality has not stopped the sovereigntist Parti Québécois from vowing to cut immigration levels further – to 35,000 permanent residents annually, or less than 8 per cent of the Canadian total – if it wins on Oct. 3. At that rate, Quebec’s share of Canada’s population (which now stands at 22.5 per cent) would likely plummet even more rapidly than it is forecast to fall under Statistics Canada’s most recent projections, which show it falling to 19.8 per cent by 2043.

To back up his plan, Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon has referred to a study produced this year for the Quebec Ministry of Immigration by economist Pierre Fortin that disputes the argument that higher immigration levels are needed to address labour shortages as “a big fallacy,” since an influx of newcomers creates demand in the economy that serves to exacerbate shortages for workers, housing and health care.

Prof. Fortin’s study is especially critical of Ottawa’s immigration targets, arguing they will lead to “bureaucratic congestion and confusion,” produce scarce economic benefits, and increase the “social risk of stoking xenophobia and encouraging a rejection of immigration.”

Under leader Dominique Anglade, the Liberals are proposing to boost the number of permanent residents Quebec accepts to 70,000 in 2023. It would determine immigration levels beyond that year in conjunction with the province’s 17 regions in a bid to get more newcomers to locate outside the greater Montreal area.

The far-left Québec Solidaire has adopted the most ambitious immigration targets of all the parties, promising to welcome up to 80,000 permanent residents to the province annually. That would still not be enough for Quebec’s population growth to keep pace with the rest of Canada, but the figure clearly sets QS apart as the most unabashedly pro-immigration party in this election campaign.

When the CAQ leader challenged QS co-spokesperson (and de facto leader) Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois to explain how his party would slow the decline of French in Quebec with such high immigration levels, he responded with a zinger: “The difference between Mr. Legault and me is that he points fingers and I open my arms.”

Source: Opinion: In Quebec, immigration takes centre stage again on the campaign trail

Dutrisac: Bataille de chiffres

More on the battle of immigration numbers in the Quebec election, with Dutrisac arguing in favour of the CAQ’s restrained approach:

En matière d’immigration, c’est la ronde des chiffres qui s’est invitée en campagne électorale. Trois partis — Québec solidaire, le Parti québécois et le Parti conservateur du Québec — ont précisé quels sont les seuils d’immigration qu’ils préconisent, tandis que la Coalition avenir Québec et Parti libéral du Québec ont confirmé la position qu’ils ont déjà fait connaître.

Du côté de la CAQ, François Legault n’a pas fait mentir son slogan de campagne « Continuons ». Sans surprise, le chef caquiste a réitéré que le gouvernement qu’il formerait s’en tiendrait au nombre de quelque 50 000 immigrants par an. Malgré sa proximité avec le monde des affaires, il n’entend pas céder au lobby du Conseil du patronat du Québec, qui réclame que ce seuil soit augmenté à 80 000 lors du prochain mandat et à 100 000 par la suite.

C’est paradoxalement QS qui s’approche le plus des préférences du patronat en proposant une cible maximum de 80 000 immigrants par an. Le PLQ n’est pas très loin, avançant le chiffre de 70 000 dans le but de contrer les pénuries de main-d’oeuvre.

À l’autre bout du spectre, le PQ propose de réduire à 35 000 le seuil, soit celui qui prévalait avant le régime de Jean Charest, relevant que le déclin du français s’est amorcé quand le nombre d’immigrants admis est passé à 50 000 par an. Le PQ a le mérite de signaler l’enjeu de l’immigration temporaire, notamment l’afflux d’étudiants étrangers dans les universités anglophones, un phénomène encouragé par Ottawa qui bloque l’entrée d’étudiants africains francophones dans nos cégeps et universités.

Avec un seuil élevé, QS prétend prendre le parti de la vertu, en communion avec la politique migratoire expansionniste du gouvernement Trudeau et sa vision postnationale. Plus le nombre d’immigrants qu’un parti promet d’accueillir est important, plus il peut se targuer de favoriser l’ouverture à ce qu’il est convenu d’appeler la diversité. La grandeur d’âme serait fonction de la grosseur du nombre.

Si l’immigration doit faire partie des moyens pour répondre aux pénuries de travailleurs dont souffrent les entreprises en particulier, elle fait augmenter la demande de main-d’oeuvre pour l’ensemble de l’économie. On n’a qu’à regarder la situation en Ontario et écouter son premier ministre, Doug Ford, se plaindre de la pénurie de main-d’oeuvre, même si la province, participant allègrement à la politique fédérale d’accueillir bientôt 451 000 immigrants par an, en reçoit quatre fois plus que le Québec.

Sur le plan de l’enrichissement, les économistes qui se sont penchés sur la question ont conclu que, bien que l’immigration forcément fasse croître l’économie, elle a peu d’effets sur le niveau de vie des gens ; elle influe peu sur le produit intérieur brut par habitant. Ces études donnent raison à François Legault, qui a rappelé le sort enviable des petits pays comme la Suisse, la Suède ou le Danemark. Il serait illusoire de tenter de suivre l’exemple du Canada, dont on peut douter du bon sens de sa frénésie migratoire. Même si cette politique, à laquelle le Québec n’a pas souscrit, a pour conséquence de réduire son poids démographique et politique au sein de la fédération, la grenouille que nous sommes n’a pas intérêt à devenir plus grosse que le boeuf. Et nous verrons à quelle réflexion collective cette évolution néfaste nous conduira.

Les mérites de l’immigration à un niveau soutenable ne reposent pas sur des arguments économiques. Des considérations humanitaires interviennent, mais il s’agit surtout de poursuivre l’aventure de la nation québécoise avec des gens venus d’ailleurs qui veulent y participer, et ainsi l’enrichir. C’est un moyen de faire rayonner le Québec de l’intérieur, pour ainsi dire, de mettre en valeur sa culture, sa société, en français. La question est là, à savoir si cet épanouissement est possible dans le contexte canadien ou si c’est l’insignifiance folklorique et la lente assimilation qui nous attendent.

Source: Bataille de chiffres