Patrice Bergeron, The Canadian Press
QUEBEC CITY – Five months before the election, the immigration debate has flared up again: Parti Québecois (PQ) opposes employer groups’ demand, to move from the current reception of 50,000 immigrants per year to 80,000 instead, up to 90,000.
Separatist formation first calls for a “quiet” discussion, based on “factual and scientific” data.
PQ leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is reacting to the coordinated exit of several business associations, including Conseil du patronat and Quebec’s Manufacturer and Exporter, which are calling for a significant increase in the annual immigration threshold in order to bridge the scarcity of talaq.
In an interview with The Canadian Press published on Sunday, the PQ leader asserts that despite continuous increases in the number of immigrants accepted into Quebec over the past 30 years, the demand for workers has not yet diminished. Thus, the so-called solution did not solve the problem, he said.
Furthermore, the large increase required will only increase the demand for services, whether for family physicians, places in early childhood centers (CPE) or even housing, which has provoked immigration lawyer Stephen Handfeld, a PQ candidate at Mason in the October elections.
“Do we provide a service to new immigrants if we do not take these issues into account in our capacity to welcome and integrate?” Asked.
Science over ideology
“We want a debate based on science and not on ideology or false assumptions,” said Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon.
He therefore calls for caution to avoid any slippage in this debate, which has unfortunate precedents.
“The simple fact of asking questions about an increased immigration threshold leads to hints of intolerance for those who ask, and creates an uneasy climate,” said Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon.
“Historically, we have been imbued with too much ideology and stigma” on the issue of immigration, and this ends up harming “Quebec’s right to be able to take its own directions,” the independence leader believes.
Once Quebec does not align itself with the Canadian federal model of accepting more newcomers, it is accused of racism even though immigration falls partly within its jurisdiction, he laments.
Parti Québécois leader asks many questions. Among other things, does welcoming more immigrants create more wealth, increasing GDP per capita?
“We want to study macroeconomics objectively,” he insists, asking for other answers.
What is the effect of increased migration on language dynamics? What is its impact on the housing crisis? Does this reduce the average lifespan of the workforce?
Stefan Handfeld said: “I’ve never seen a study that says that’s why we need 30,000 or 40,000 immigrants, or so we can justify that number.”
What is the cost of integrating each immigrant? Asked.
But we “always hear the same old story: 80,000 immigrants a year and all the problems will be solved.”
Currently, there are at least 240,000 vacancies to be filled in Quebec, according to data from the Institut Québec.
Employers’ associations are calling for immigration compensation to offset labor scarcity and delays caused by border closures during the pandemic.
Their consensus is 80,000 per year, but chief manufacturers and exporters, Véronique Proulx, would be willing to increase the number to 90,000, which is nearly double the current threshold of 50,000 per year.
Legault’s government did not provide its official response. But PQ sets its bar where?
Paul Saint-Pierre Blamondon reiterates that he is committed to establishing the minimum acceptable level for his training between now and the election campaign.
During the 2018 election campaign, the coalition Avenir Quebec denied the labor shortage and pledged to lower the immigration threshold, under the slogan “Take less, but take care of it.” The migration threshold was lowered first, then adjusted upwards again.
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