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Maxime Bernier hopes to find common ground on immigration in Quebec
Published Friday, June 14, 2019 9:26PM EDT
Maxime Bernier was in Montreal Friday as he presented some new candidates for his People's Party of Canada.
Bernier introduced the 31 candidates who will run for his party in Montreal, the Laurentians the Monteregie and the Outaouais.
He said his party will reflect some of the values that attracted voters to the CAQ at the provincial level, specifically his policy on immigration, which he said should appeal to Premier Francois Legault.
Bernier said it's imperative that immigrants come to the country legally and adhere to Canadian values
“We want more economic immigrants and fewer refugees and I think we must also solve the problem that we have at the border in Quebec and the state of New York – people who are coming in this country illegally,” he said. “40,000 of them for the last two years. We must solve that and we will do it so, but all together we're the only party to have fewer immigrants but people who will come here and share our Canadian values.”
Immigration reform has been a hot-button issue in Quebec but not without its pitfalls – the Legault government announced recently that after dipping numbers for a year, it will be adjusting immigration levels back up as a solution to Quebec's labour shortage.
Bernier spoke about how his party believes in less government regulation, including on the environment, preferring to let the provinces set policies on climate change within some type of federal framework.
He said he would take a completely different approach to the environment than both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.
“For us, carbon tax, I know it's a shared jurisdiction with provinces and we will respect that. We will let provinces do what they want to do on climate change but we will have a strong policy on the environment to be sure that we have clear lakes, clear rivers and something that will be concrete for Canadians.”
Bernier currently sits as an independent MP for the Beauce riding, one of the regions where Conservatives have traditionally polled strongest.