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Temporary immigration is 'minoritizing' French in Quebec, says PQ

Parti Quebecois Leader Pascal Berube questions the government, Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot Parti Quebecois Leader Pascal Berube questions the government, Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

The Parti Quebecois (PQ) argues that the sharp rise in temporary immigration is "arranging" the "minorization" of the French language in Quebec, the day after new Statistics Canada data was published.

According to the data, the number of temporary immigrants to Quebec jumped by almost 50 per cent in one year, from 322,000 to 471,000, between July 2022 and July 2023.

The Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) calls it a "red flag," while Quebec solidaire (QS) is calling for temporary workers to be regularized and receive permanent status.

The Coalition Avenir Quebec expressed surprise and called on the federal government to "wake up" to Quebec's capacity to receive immigrants.

The PQ tabled a motion pointing out that Quebec "does not have the capacity to take in so many non-permanent residents" and demanded that the federal government—which largely controls temporary immigration— take this into account. The motion was blocked by QS.

Immigration Minister Christine Frechette is asking Ottawa to revise its immigration targets in light of the new data but added that her federal counterpart, Marc Miller, is not receptive to the idea.

She is also calling on the federal government to be more vigilant when granting tourist visas, as some visitors may be taking advantage of the situation to seek asylum in Canada.


"Awareness? No, it's going to take something more energetic than that," denounced PQ MNA Pascal Berube in a press scrum Thursday morning.

"I'm saying that we're adapting to our minority status, particularly in terms of language," he continued, wishing to use "less catastrophic words" than the "Louisianization" evoked by Francois Legault during last year's election campaign.

He recalled Legault's statement that it would be suicidal to raise the annual threshold above 50,000 new arrivals.

"Quebec does not have the capacity to welcome 471,000 temporary immigrants, whether in terms of housing, schools or public services," argued Berube.

He lamented the fact that, while consultations in the National Assembly include welcoming 50,000 to 60,000 permanent immigrants per year, the federal government has admitted a much higher number of temporary immigrants to Quebec.

Meantime, Quebec Liberal Party interim leader Marc Tanguay called Quebec's capacity to receive immigrants "extremely worrying," at a press scrum.

"The whole debate on immigration is truncated," said Quebec solidaire co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

"Of course, it's too much (temporary immigration), but we can't just say it's too much," he said, calling for the status of temporary immigrants to be regularized to make them permanent immigrants at the rate of 10,000 additional per year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 28, 2023. Top Stories

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