Immigration minister defends Quebec refugee record in testy exchange with UN rep
Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette speaks at a news conference Thursday, March 28, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot)
Quebec's immigration minister says the province is resettling more than its share of refugees.
Simon Jolin-Barrette made the comments today in a testy exchange with the representative in Canada of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who called on Quebec to accept more refugees.
Jean-Nicolas Beuze told a committee studying the province's immigration plan that the Quebec government's discourse supports a view that economic immigrants are better than people who come to the province for humanitarian reasons.
He said refugees on average are quick to learn French and have the highest rate of entrepreneurship among all newcomers to the province.
Jolin-Barrette took offence at Beuze's comments, saying his government believes all immigrants can enrich society and fully participate in the economy.
He said Quebec has received most of the asylum seekers entering irregularly into the country in the past two years.