Quebec to wait up to 90 days to give second dose of COVID-19 vaccines

The province that has the highest infection and death rates, comparable to some of the worst hit G7 countries, is taking this risky approach. This will generate some good comparative data regarding following the Pharma companies advice and not doing so. But as someone who follows the instructions on my meds, question the wisdom: 

Quebec will wait up to 90 days before giving a COVID-19 vaccine booster to people who have received a first shot, Health Minister Christian Dube said Thursday.

That delay goes far beyond the recommendations of vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna, which propose intervals of 21 and 28 days respectively, and is more than double the 42-day maximum proposed by Canada’s national vaccine advisory committee.

Dube told a news conference that the decision was made in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible and to reduce the pressure on the health system.

“In our context, this is the best strategy, because we have to contend with (having) very few vaccines, and we’re in a race against the clock,” Dube said at a news conference.

Dube said the province had discussed the decision with both vaccine manufacturers and federal public health officials. He said the latter acknowledged that the 42-day recommended maximum can be extended depending on the disease’s progression in a particular province.

He said the high rate of community transmission, hospitalizations and deaths in Quebec justified the change.

“In Quebec we don’t have the same situation as in New Brunswick or British Columbia,” he said.

Richard Masse, a senior public health adviser, said the change would allow up to 500,000 seniors who are most at risk of complications — including those in private residences and those aged 80 and up — to receive their vaccine several weeks earlier than originally thought.

He said the justification to extend the interval was based on the “experience of working with many vaccines through time,” which shows that vaccine immunity does not suddenly drop off within a month or two.

However, he said the province was carefully monitoring the efficacy of the shot and would immediately give second doses if it saw evidence of decreased immunity in certain groups, such as the elderly.

Both Masse and Dube said the province would work to shorten the interval between first and second doses once the province begins to receive larger quantities of vaccine.

Meanwhile, the province was reporting some regions of the province have few or no doses of COVID-19 vaccine remaining as the vaccination effort outpaces the speed of delivery.

Quebec says as of Thursday morning, the Gaspe region, Iles-de-la-Madeleine, Nord-du-Quebec and the James Bay Cree Nation territories are out or almost out of vaccine; the province expects new deliveries Friday or Saturday.

Four other regions had almost used up all their doses but received new supplies Tuesday.

The province reported 2,132 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday and 64 more deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, including 15 that occurred in the previous 24 hours.

One death previously attributed to COVID-19 was removed from the total after it was determined to be unrelated. Quebec has reported a total of 236,827 infections and 8,878 deaths linked to the virus.

Jean Morin, a spokesman for the Gaspe region’s health authority, said the vaccination campaign was going “exceedingly well” despite the fact nearly all the doses have been used.

Morin said there are logistical challenges to vaccinating people in the vast and thinly populated region, including having to transport people to clinics to receive their shots.

He says he expects the highest-priority groups in the region will be vaccinated by the end of January.

Source: Quebec to wait up to 90 days to give second dose of COVID-19 vaccines

As trial over Quebec religious symbols ban wraps up, minority rights hang in the balance

Useful summary of the issues and positions in play:

Last week, Justice Marc-André Blanchard brought a cordial end to the hearings in a case about the constitutionality of Quebec’s ban on religious symbols, which bars teachers and some other civil servants from wearing such symbols at work.

“I’m very happy with how the trial went,” Blanchard told the lawyers in Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday. He said he was taking some time off to clear his head and would have a decision likely some time after February.

The 29-day trial, which combined several legal challenges of Quebec’s Laicity Act brought by groups that included civil rights advocates, the English Montreal School Board and a teachers’ union, was, nevertheless, acrimonious at times.

Source: As trial over Quebec religious symbols ban wraps up, minority rights hang in the balance

Nicolas: Manque de vision (Quebec anti-racism strategy)

Good dissection of the weaknesses and lack of concrete action:

Des actions concrètes. Une approche pragmatique. À partir des constats déjà connus. C’est ce que nous avait promis le premier ministre François Legault en lançant en juin son Groupe d’action contre le racisme. On pourrait traduire : pas le temps de niaiser. Pas le temps de poser le problème auquel on s’attaque, d’expliquer comment il opère dans la société, et comment les mesures proposées pourront altérer positivement cet état de fait.

François Legault, Nadine Girault et Lionel Carmant nous disent qu’ils ne veulent pas parler de racisme systémique. Mais ils ne disent pas non plus de quoi ils veulent parler, eux.

Sur les 25 « actions concrètes » du rapport du Groupe d’action, une douzaine peut se résumer à des campagnes d’information et d’éducation. On veut former les policiers, les enseignants, les employés de l’État et les jeunes en âge scolaire, sensibiliser les ordres professionnels, informer les propriétaires et les locateurs et développer une campagne de sensibilisation qui ne vise rien de moins que l’ensemble de la population — et même, de manière étrangement spécifique, l’industrie de la construction, et cette industrie seulement. Les former, les sensibiliser à quoi ? Le racisme, c’est mal ? Le racisme, tolérance zéro ? Mais encore ?

Est-ce qu’on formera à l’impact des biais cognitifs sur les processus décisionnels, ou est-ce que les recherches en psychologie menées de front notamment par l’Université Harvard seront aussi considérées comme dangereuses pour le « consensus » québécois ? Est-ce qu’on formera à la réalité des Premières Nations et des Inuits en parlant de la colonisation des territoires autochtones notamment par le gouvernement du Québec, ou est-ce que ce serait aussi faire le « procès » de la majorité francophone ? Il semble qu’on a balayé en avant, avec ce rapport, tout le débat qu’on souhaitait éviter. On réalisera bien, en tentant de le mettre en œuvre, qu’il est impossible de lutter contre le racisme sans poser d’abord ce qu’il est.

Par exemple, les auteurs du rapport souhaitent s’en prendre au profilage racial des corps policiers en interdisant une fois pour toutes les interpellations policières aléatoires. Il faudra désormais que les policiers interpellent un citoyen en se basant sur des « soupçons raisonnables » et des « faits observables ». Très bien. Alors, si un agent scanne les plaques d’immatriculation des hommes noirs qu’il croise au volant et interpelle tous ceux qui conduisent une voiture enregistrée au nom de leur conjointe ou de leur mère (comme c’est parfois le cas), s’agit-il là d’un « soupçon raisonnable » de vol ou d’une pratique raciste ? Si un corps de police se met à pratiquer plutôt le « profilage criminel » en associant la criminalité à des traits et à des comportements qui sont plus communs parmi les Noirs, les Autochtones et les Arabes, est-ce là du racisme, du profilage racial, une interpellation non aléatoire ?

Les questions posées ne relèvent pas de la conjecture: c’est déjà souvent ainsi qu’on opère le déni de profilage racial au sein des corps policiers, malgré tous les rapports qui condamnent de telles pratiques. Une action efficace contre le racisme dans les corps policiers est une mesure qui anticipe le naturel qui revient au galop au fil des réformes, enveloppé dans de nouveaux prétextes politiquement corrects, et qui prévoit comment contrecarrer ces pièges.

Avec ce rapport, on est loin du compte. On déclare que l’on veut « rendre l’évaluation des compétences par les ordres professionnels plus rapide et flexible », ce qui est répété par tous les partis politiques au pouvoir depuis des décennies. On n’explique pas comment, cette fois, on réussira. On veut « augmenter, d’ici cinq ans, le taux de présence des membres des minorités visibles au sein de l’effectif de la fonction publique ». On ne précise même pas quel taux on souhaite atteindre, d’ici ces cinq années, ni avec quelles mesures.

C’est avec la comparaison qu’on voit le mieux le peu de substance qui nous est présenté cette semaine. Imaginons un plan d’action contre les changements climatiques dont près de la moitié des mesures pourraient être résumées à de la sensibilisation et à de l’information des individus, où l’autre moitié ne contiendrait aucun objectif chiffré, où le gouvernement du Québec parlerait simplement « d’inciter » certaines entreprises à agir et où on ne définirait même pas les changements climatiques, sous prétexte que chaque environnementaliste que l’on a rencontré a défini la notion en ses propres mots, que les climatosceptiques existent et qu’il y a donc absence de consensus social sur ce dont on parle. Pourrait-on aussi imaginer, en 2020, un plan de lutte contre le sexisme et la violence faite aux femmes où l’on garderait secrète la liste des organismes et des expertes rencontrés, et qui n’annoncerait aucuns fonds publics pour les organismes qui mènent la lutte sur le terrain depuis des décennies ?

Pour plusieurs observateurs mal avisés, le rapport ne semblera pas si mal, au premier coup d’œil. Ce sera parce que nos standards en matière de lutte contre le racisme sont extrêmement bas — ce qui n’est pas nécessairement la faute de la CAQ. Le rapport Racisme au Québec : tolérance zéron’est pas particulièrement plus faible que les documents fades auxquels les gouvernements libéraux qui ont précédé à M. Legault nous avaient habitués. C’est notamment que ceux-ci n’avaient rien à gagner, politiquement, à poser la question du racisme trop sérieusement : Montréal, où vit la majorité des personnes racisées, était considérée comme acquise, et on courtisait le vote francophone des régions.

Une CAQ plus ambitieuse pourrait chercher à convaincre des électeurs à l’extérieur de sa base actuelle. Ce n’est pas le choix qu’on a fait avec la stratégie annoncée cette semaine.

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/opinion/chroniques/591727/manque-de-vision?utm_source=infolettre-2020-12-15&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

The more neutral news article:

A task force of three ministers and four Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) backbenchers is calling for action by the province to crack down on racial profiling, and on discrimination in hiring and housing affecting Quebecers of colour, Indigenous peoples and other minority groups.

The province will pursue 25 anti-racism goals, which the CAQ task force detailed in a report released on Monday.

The first target is racial profiling by police, who have been known to stop minority young people in parks or to pull over cars driven by racial minorities without legal cause.

Junior Health Minister Lionel Carment explained that police will now be required to give someone stopped the reason why they are being stopped, and this will allow someone who has been stopped to make a complaint if a reason is not given.

Quebec’s government also plans to train teachers and other public sector employees about racism and how to correct it.

Immigration Minister Nadine Girault said the proposed goals are ‘’measured’’ and there will be follow-ups on their progress.

‘’We’re an action-oriented government,’’ Girault said, adding that the Quebec government has not had a campaign against racism in 20 years.

To ensure their report, commissioned by Premier François Legault in June, would live up to its commitments, Girault called for designating a minister responsible for its implementation.

Legault named the task force at a time when when the Black Lives Matter movement was vocal in Quebec, following police abuses in the United States, notably the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer after Floyd had allegedly tried to use a counterfeit bill. The premier insisted then there was no parallel between racism in the United States and the situation in Quebec.

But in September, when Joyce Echaquan, a 37-year-old Atikamekw mother of seven died in a Joliette, Que., hospital, she was called by many “Quebec’s George Floyd.”

Echaquan’s suffering in hospital, and racial insults she received from hospital staff, were recorded because her cell phone was on and broadcasting her treatment on Facebook.

Legault refused in naming the task force to accept the term “systemic racism” and he did not change his mind when there was an outcry in reaction of Echaquan’s death.

The premier did say the treatment she received was “unacceptable” and changed his Aboriginal affairs minister at the time, replacing Sylvie d’Amours with Ian Lafrenière, a former Montreal police force spokesman.

Legault has said applying the term “systemic” could suggest Quebecers are racist, which he rejects.

The premier says instead that there is racism in Quebec and naming the task force was his way of indicating he wants the problem to be dealt with.

Fabrice Vil, a lawyer from Montreal’s Black community, said proposals by the task force to raise awareness about racism are essential, but expressed dismay that the term “systemic racism” was avoided.

“We should call a cat a cat,” Vil said. “Words are important.”

Ghislain Picard, Assembly of First Nations chief for Quebec and Labrador, was also disappointed.

“They haven’t identified the causes and dealt with the causes,” Picard said.

At the news conference on Monday, Lafrenière said he is moving to implement the Viens report, sparked by reports of abusive treatment of Indigenous women in Val d’Or, a northern Quebec mining town. Justice Jacques Viens concluded there was “systemic discrimination” affecting Indigenous peoples in the province.

Lafrenière has announced funding for better training for Indigenous police and with the City of Montreal, a program to house homeless First Nations and Inuit people living in Montreal.

Girault said the approach of the task force was to avoid victimization, without downplaying the real consequences of racism in the province.

Asked about avoidance of the “systemic’’ label by the task force, Girault, who is Black and says she has faced racial discrimination in Quebec, said that in discussions with Quebec’s minorities the same themes came up. She noted that Quebec’s public sector will be recruiting more minorities.

As well, starting in 2022, the ethics and culture program taught in Quebec schools will also deal with racism.

The task force also recommended that professional corporations establish equivalencies to make it easier for doctors and other professionals to practise in Quebec. Immigrants to the province who qualified in their home countries in medicine, engineering and other professions currently face hurdles seeking access to the same professions in Quebec.

Source: Quebec task force sets markers for ‘significant impact’ fighting racism

Joyal: At stake in Bill 101 decision is the very concept of Canada

Along with other commentary in this vein (Caddell: Bill 101 applying federally? Time for some constitutional common sense):

In recent months there has been a campaign in Quebec, orchestrated by independentist parties and nationalist movements, and now joined by a bi-partisan group of former Quebec premiers, to induce the Canadian government to subject federally chartered agencies and businesses to Bill 101. These entities account for barely four per cent of the labour force, a minimal proportion. The campaign’s goal is to counter what is held to be a “decline of French” in Montreal that is allegedly raging in downtown businesses.

What is at stake in the situation currently facing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is the very concept of Canada and the principles upon which it is based.

The federal government’s response seems hesitant. Yet the principles of linguistic equality are clear, and section 16 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is eloquent. Seen through that lens, the fundamental nature of Canada serves francophones most of all.

The subtext of this campaign is pernicious: It implies that federally chartered enterprises contribute to the anglicization of Quebec. It overlooks the fact that some of these companies are also subject to the Official Languages Act, which includes precise measures for the provision of services in French and the right of employees to work in the language of their choice (in Quebec, for the majority, French), and that in addition there is a Commissioner of Official Languages to ensure that the law is obeyed.

Who could argue that Radio-Canada and its TV and radio networks could be a cause of the decline of French? That is ludicrous! The French language spoken on its airwaves has always been a model of quality in French Canada; the same is true of the NFB. French is also upheld in other enterprises with a federal charter, such as COGECO, or on 98.5 FM!

The noisy campaign propagated by a popular tabloid, brandishing the threat of an apprehended decline, creates a false perception and seems to be intimidating the defenders of basic principles.

Letting the idea spread that we should reduce the rights of the minority in Quebec could have fateful consequences for francophone minorities in other provinces. Does the defence of modern Canada not deserve better than a dishonourable capitulation? The country has never progressed when it has abandoned a minority. What signal would we be sending for the future of Canada? This retreat would be a very bad omen.

For many years now, it has been the government of Canada that has most efficiently supported the cultural dynamism of Quebec, at all levels.

If we want to reinforce French, we must focus on innovative policies that address the contemporary situation of French, which is controlled by, among other things, the digital platforms that young people prefer.

For example: Adopt strong measures so that French-language works are properly visible on Big Tech, and not simply determined by algorithms that steer and limit users’ choices.

For example: Ensure that the Commissioner of Official Languages’ powers are efficiently reinforced concerning the adoption of French as a language of work and of service. In other words, give the watchdog better tools, rather than abandon the field to provincial officialdom. The interests of the whole country would be far better served.

What I suggest is not surrender to a narrow vision of linguistic and cultural reality that in practice would separate Quebec from the fundamental principles of Canada, but rather a renewed commitment to meet the societal challenges of today’s world with all the tools of public policy at the Canadian government’s disposal.

I think it is timely to voice these concerns: it seems to me that the current discomfort and silence are becoming deafening.Serge Joyal is a retired senator and former member of the House of Commons and federal cabinet minister. In 1980-81, he served as co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada. This oped is adapted from a letter that he has sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Source: https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-at-stake-in-bill-101-decision-is-the-very-concept-of-canada/wcm/98a6236a-69a1-4ad7-b796-501d91677ee2/amp/

Pratte: Opinion: Questioning whether French is in decline should not be heresy

A very good example of how to analyze language data in a comprehensive and nuanced manner, using the wide range of language measures in the census and the Rapport sur l’évolution de la situation linguistique au Québec (mother tongue, language most spoken at home, language most spoken at work, language of instruction):

In the wake of a question from MP Emmanuella Lambropoulos that included quotation marks, Minister of Official Languages Mélanie Joly said she was “stunned” and maintained that “we cannot deny at this time that there is a decline in the French language in Montreal and across the country. The statistics show it.”

The decline of French would thus have become an absolute truth, statistical dogma that cannot be contested without risking excommunication — a punishment that was, as a matter of fact, administered to Lambropoulos.

However, the reality is much more complex. In its latest Rapport sur l’évolution de la situation linguistique au Québec, published last year (125 pages of statistics!), the Office québécois de la langue française paints a very nuanced picture of the situation.

Is there a decline? Some data suggest that there is, but several other figures show either stability or progress for francophones, particularly since the francization of immigrant children introduced by Bill 101.

In terms of mother tongue, for example, it is true that the proportion of French speakers slipped from 80.9 per cent to 77 per cent between 1996 and 2016. However, the proportion of anglophones also decreased, from 8.3 per cent to 7.5 per cent. No, the shift from French as a mother tongue has been toward “other” languages, that is, the mother tongues of immigrants. Their children, on the other hand, will go to French school, and French will slowly establish itself from one generation to the next.

Moreover, unlike previous generations, the majority (75 per cent) of recent immigrants who speak a language other than their mother tongue at home adopt French. According to this indicator, within the immigrant population, French is not declining at all, it is on the rise.

Data on language of work and language of instruction provide an equally nuanced picture. For example, on the island of Montreal, the number of children entitled to English-language education under Bill 101 dropped by one-third, from 75,256 to 50,416 students between 1986 and 2015.

Where the problem lies is in the language used in downtown retailers. The survey published by Le Journal de Montréal a few days ago confirms the data collected by the Office, according to which the proportion of stores in downtown Montreal where customers are greeted in French decreased sharply from 2010 to 2017, from 86.2 per cent to 72 per cent for stores in shopping centres, and from 89.5 per cent to 73.6 per cent for stores fronting on the street. These drops occurred in favour of English and of Bonjour-Hi. That said, once past the initial greeting, service in French was available in 96 per cent of cases, a proportion that has not changed since 2010.

We cannot therefore speak of a general decline in French. It all depends on what exactly we’re talking about. The government — and Quebec society in general — must certainly act to ensure that customers are received in stores first and foremost in French. It must be clearly indicated that the main language in Quebec is French.

However, the problems with how customers are greeted in stores do not justify an all-out linguistic offensive, even though such a policy would be popular. We will have to think twice, for example, before imposing Bill 101 on businesses under federal jurisdiction, when there is nothing to indicate that the problem of the “decline” of French is rooted in this sector, which accounts for less than four per cent of the province’s workers. It is surprising, moreover, that the government of Canada has not categorically rejected this blatant intrusion into its jurisdiction.

In short, one cannot speak of a decline of French in Quebec without putting a lot of nuances into it. We can say this while affirming that the situation of French in Quebec will always remain fragile and that, consequently, vigilance is required. However, in order to ensure that policies in this area continue to be well informed, it is absolutely necessary to authorize and encourage debate and questioning, even accompanied by quotation marks.

In short, one cannot speak of a decline of French in Quebec without putting a lot of nuances into it. We can say this while affirming that the situation of French in Quebec will always remain fragile and that, consequently, vigilance is required. However, in order to ensure that policies in this area continue to be well informed, it is absolutely necessary to authorize and encourage debate and questioning, even accompanied by quotation marks.

André Pratte, former journalist and former senator, is a principal at Navigator.

Source: https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-questioning-whether-french-is-in-decline-should-not-be-heresy

Religious minorities say Quebec’s Christmas gathering plan shows a double standard

Valid critique. I remember when Ontario’s Sunday closing laws (Lord’s Day Act, the Retail Business Holidays Act) were repealed or amended given this discriminatory impact on other religions along with general public pressure in the early 1990s:

Members of religious minority groups in Quebec are decrying the provincial government’s plan to allow Christmas-time gatherings in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, calling the move a sign of a double standard.

The condemnations came days after Premier Francois Legault offered Quebecers what he dubbed a “moral contract” through an offer to raise gathering limits over a four-day period starting on Christmas Eve.

“It’s disappointing,” said Yusuf Faqiri, a representative of the National Council of Canadian Muslims. “The Muslim community, the Jewish community, the Sikh community, when we had our respective holidays, we were not able to gather.”

Legault announced the terms of the Christmas repreive on Thursday, saying groups of up to 10 could gather between Dec. 24 and Dec. 27. The short-term move marks a sharp reversal from rules currently in place in much of the province, where all indoor gatherings are banned in regions classified as red zones under the province’s pandemic response plan.

Faqiri said his objections to the move aren’t rooted solely in the pandemic. His organization is one of several that is currently challenging Quebec’s secularism law in court. That law bans some public servants, including teachers, from wearing religious symbols while working, on the grounds that the state must be religiously neutral.

He said it’s “a contradiction” to defend that bill while allowing Christmas gatherings.

“All Quebecers, from all faith groups, from all respective traditions, we’re all proud participants in the society,” he said. “But in order for us to do that, we should all be treated the same and that’s where the fundamental issue lies.”

Rabbi Lisa Grushcow, of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom in Montreal, said Jewish people have been left out.

“But we’ve been left out of something I wouldn’t want to be included in,” she quipped.

Grushcow said she’s worried that the allowance for gatherings will put vulnerable people and teachers at risk.

“I don’t know that the government’s following the science and the medical wisdom,” she said. “That’s the piece that worries me.”

She said she doesn’t want the government to allow people to gather for Hanukkah, noting that her congregation has already made it through more important Jewish holidays in the midst of the pandemic.

“We made it through Passover, we made it through Rosh Hashanah, we made it through Yom Kippur,” she said. “So if anything, I would hope that our experience can show that it’s possible to be creative and still be connected, even while keeping each other safe.”

Grushcow said there is an inconsistency when it comes to the Quebec government’s approach to secularism.

“You’re saying that you can rearrange the whole school calendar and put a society at risk so folks can celebrate Christmas, but you’re not going to let it teacher wear a hijab or a kippah,” she said. “It is a bit of a challenge.”

When asked about people who don’t celebrate Christmas at press conference on Thursday evening, Legault said he believes allowing for gatherings around Christmas is what most Quebecers want.

Other rabbis echoed Grushcow’s concerns.

“While we appreciate the intent of the Quebec government’s decision to accommodate families and allow them to gather for Christmas, it is unfortunate and disturbing that it does not apply to all faith communities,” Rabbi Reuben Poupko, the co-chair of Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs-Quebec and the rabbi of the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation in Montreal, said in a statement. “The elevating of one faith community over another is inappropriate, and all faith communities should be treated in an equitable manner.”

At a technical briefing on Friday morning, public health officials said they didn’t specifically choose to centre the moral contract around Christmas but selected the dates because they fell in the middle of the winter school break.

Source: https://www.nationalnewswatch.com/2020/11/22/religious-minorities-say-quebecs-christmas-gathering-plan-shows-a-double-standard/#.X7uWei3b23g

La part québécoise de l’immigration continue de diminuer

No surprise. Conscious policy decision with longer-term political impact:

Le Québec n’a peut-être pas accueilli autant d’immigrants qu’il le souhaitait en 2020 à cause de la pandémie, mais il n’en accueillera pas plus l’année prochaine que ce qu’il avait initialement prévu. Du coup, parce qu’Ottawa, lui, entend procéder à un rattrapage, la part québécoise de l’immigration canadienne diminuera encore.

Québec a reconnu fin octobre qu’il recevra cette année entre 30 % et 40 % moins d’immigrants que prévu et qu’il effectuerait un « rattrapage » de 7000 dossiers au cours des deux prochaines années. Plusieurs en ont déduit que ces 7000 personnes s’ajouteraient aux 44 500 à 47 500 personnes que Québec avait planifié d’accueillir en 2021. Ce ne sera pas le cas, a appris Le Devoir.

« Nous maintenons le cap sur les seuils d’immigration. En effet, la cible d’admission pour 2021 demeure la même, soit entre 44 500 et 47 500 immigrants », précise par courriel Flore Bouchon, l’attachée de presse de la ministre québécoise de l’Immigration, Nadine Girault. « L’ajustement des 7000 personnes est pour compenser la baisse des admissions qu’on pourrait avoir. » En d’autres mots, on pense que l’effet de la pandémie pourrait se prolonger en 2021 : garder la même cible constitue donc en soi un « rattrapage » aux yeux de Québec.

Or, le gouvernement fédéral entend vraiment, au cours des trois prochaines années, augmenter le nombre d’immigrants reçus par rapport à ce qu’il avait initialement prévu. Ainsi, il vise 401 000 admissions en 2021 (au lieu de 351 000), 411 000 en 2022 (au lieu de 361 000) et 421 000 en 2023 (les anciennes projections n’allaient pas jusque-là).

Or, le gouvernement fédéral entend vraiment, au cours des trois prochaines années, augmenter le nombre d’immigrants reçus par rapport à ce qu’il avait initialement prévu. Ainsi, il vise 401 000 admissions en 2021 (au lieu de 351 000), 411 000 en 2022 (au lieu de 361 000) et 421 000 en 2023 (les anciennes projections n’allaient pas jusque-là).

Ces hausses feront donc en sorte que Québec recevra une part plus faible qu’avant de nouveaux arrivants au Canada. En 2018, Québec avait reçu 15,9 % du total canadien. Ce taux a chuté à 11,9 % en 2019 et il sera seulement de 11,5 % en 2021 si les cibles des deux gouvernements sont atteintes. Pour l’année 2020 en cours, Ottawa pense être en mesure de respecter sa cible de 341 000 admissions, alors que Québec prévoit d’arriver bien en deçà, dans une fourchette de plus ou moins 25 000 à 30 000 arrivants, ce qui représenterait alors environ 8 % du total canadien.

La baisse de l’apport québécois à l’immigration canadienne se fera surtout sentir dans la catégorie des réfugiés et de la réunification familiale. Le Québec avait accepté 14,4 % de toutes les personnes arrivant au Canada pour rejoindre leur famille en 2018 et 10,6 % en 2019, mais ce taux passera à 9,6 % en 2021. Le déclin est de même amplitude du côté des réfugiés. La part québécoise était de 17,8 % en 2018 et de 13,6 % en 2019, mais ne sera plus que de 12,1 % en 2021.

La baisse de l’apport québécois à l’immigration canadienne se fera surtout sentir dans la catégorie des réfugiés et de la réunification familiale. Le Québec avait accepté 14,4 % de toutes les personnes arrivant au Canada pour rejoindre leur famille en 2018 et 10,6 % en 2019, mais ce taux passera à 9,6 % en 2021. Le déclin est de même amplitude du côté des réfugiés. La part québécoise était de 17,8 % en 2018 et de 13,6 % en 2019, mais ne sera plus que de 12,1 % en 2021.

L’accord entre Ottawa et Québec sur l’immigration commande que Québec accepte plus ou moins 20 % de tous les réfugiés venant au pays. Même si Québec est loin du compte, le gouvernement de Justin Trudeau accepte ses cibles, indique le bureau du ministre fédéral de l’Immigration, Marco Mendicino. « Le plan des niveaux d’immigration du gouvernement du Québec a été intégré au plan des niveaux d’immigration 2021 annoncé par le ministre Mendicino 30 octobre dernier. Nous collaborons avec le Québec afin de nous assurer de leur permettre de recevoir les immigrants nécessaires à la prospérité des entreprises », indique le porte-parole du ministre, Alexander Cohen.

Des craintes

Stephan Reichhold, qui dirige la Table de concertation des organismes au service des personnes réfugiées et immigrantes, trouve « très inquiétante » cette diminution. « Depuis deux ou trois ans, le Québec privilégie beaucoup plus l’immigration temporaire », note-t-il. Ces gens viennent travailler au Québec, mais attendront des années avant que leur statut soit régularisé, faute de place. Cela aura un impact sur leurs droits démocratiques et leur accès aux programmes sociaux ou encore les soins de santé.

Aussi M. Reichhold dit-il à ceux qui seraient tentés de se réjouir de cette diminution des seuils d’immigration que « c’est de la poudre aux yeux ». « Il y a autant de bodiessur le territoire québécois que lorsque les niveaux d’immigration étaient plus élevés. C’est ça que les gens ne comprennent pas. Ils sont déjà parmi nous. Ils vivent parmi nous. Ce sont nos voisins, ils sont là, ils participent, ils travaillent. […] Mais tout ça précarise beaucoup de personnes. »

La hausse des cibles d’immigration d’Ottawa a été généralement bien reçue par le milieu des affaires, qui y voit une solution à la pénurie de main-d’œuvre. Mais la population semble l’accepter avec moins d’enthousiasme. Un sondage Nanos Research Group effectué pour le compte de Bloomberg au début du mois indique que seulement 17 % des répondants pensent que le Canada devrait accueillir plus d’immigrants. 40 % ont dit qu’il faudrait plutôt maintenir les niveaux actuels d’immigration, tandis que 36 % des répondants ont dit qu’il faudrait abaisser les cibles.

Source: https://www.ledevoir.com/politique/canada/589588/immigration-la-part-quebecoise-continue-de-diminuer?utm_source=infolettre-2020-11-12&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=infolettre-quotidienne

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 11 November Update

Main news continues to be with respect to rapid increase in infections in most countries and provinces:
 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: France ahead of New York, Italy and Sweden ahead of Quebec, British Columbia ahead of Philippines
 
Deaths per millionUK ahead of USA, France ahead of Sweden, Canadian North ahead of Nigeria
 
 
 

Quebec immigration minister skips federal human rights meeting addressing systemic racism (along with Alberta, Saskatchewan)

Sigh:

Quebec’s immigration minister Nadine Girault pulled out of a virtual meeting among provinces about human rights, drawing criticism from federal government officials who say it is because of the province’s refusal to acknowledge systemic racism.

Girault sent a bureaucrat to observe, instead of participate in the meeting, citing scheduling issues. Alberta and Saskatchewan also sent observers, rather than participating.

But Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault says he was told by Quebec provincial officials Girault’s absence was because of the meeting’s portion on systemic racism, which Premier François Legault has refused to say exists in Quebec.

Source: Quebec immigration minister skips federal human rights meeting addressing systemic racism

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 4 November Update

Main news continues to be with respect to infections and relative increase of COVID cases and deaths in Prairie provinces:
 
Weekly:
 
Infections per million: Germany now ahead of Alberta, Canada, India, Prairies now ahead of Philippines
 
Deaths per million:nPrairies now ahead of Australia