J-F Lisée under fire for immigration comments
Published Tuesday, September 27, 2016 6:11PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 27, 2016 6:29PM EDT
Parti Quebecois leadership candidate Jean-Francois Lisée says he is being attacked because of his proposals about immigration and identity.
On Monday Lisée called for Quebec to have the "best immigration possible" and listing three apparently preferred European countries: France, Belgium and Spain.
Of course that led to a kerfuffle with critics saying Lisée wanted to create two classe of immigrants, and Lisée saying he was misinterpreted.
"I talked about Shanghai, Bamako, Tangiers, Santiago. I mean, what else is to be said?" said Lisée.
Provincial Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil was having none of it.
"People don't usually discriminate in their comments -- certainly not here in parliament -- about the origin of somebody, and who's a better immigrant than another," Weil said.
PQ MNA Maka Kotto, the only member of a visible minority in the PQ caucus and an immigrant from Cameroon took shots at Lisée.
"If I understand correctly, I'm a second-class immigrant," he wrote.
Kotto is backing Lisée's leadership rival, Alexandre Cloutier.
On Tuesday Lisée said his critics were twisting what he said.
"If Minister Weil and Liberals and others choose to distort my words to go on with this campaign of demonizing my candidacy -- or others who want to have a responsible discussion on making immigration a success -- that's their problem," said Lisée.
The leadership candidate said earlier this year he believes Quebec's immigration levels are too high, and the province should accept only 30,000 people annually.
He also wants Quebec to do more to help immigrants integrate, a move that Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault supports.
"In order that they be happy and we be happy, we need to have a better integration and I think right now it's too much at 50,000 to have a good integration," said Legault.
Parti Quebecois members chose their leader next week.