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Trudeau says no to Legault on transferring immigration powers


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reiterated Tuesday that he does not intend to transfer all immigration powers to Quebec City, as called for by the province's premier, François Legault, who plans to make it a battle horse during the election campaign.

"A country must certainly continue to have a say in its immigration," Trudeau said Tuesday as he entered the cabinet meeting.

Jurisdiction is shared between the two levels of government "because the protection of French and francophone immigration is very important to us," Trudeau added.

Over the weekend, Legault made the repatriation of the family reunification process a matter of survival for the Quebec nation.

He went so far as to raise the spectre of suffering the fate of Louisiana with a gradual disappearance of the French language in Quebec, if the status quo is maintained.

With four months to go before the provincial election, Legault said he intends to demand a "strong mandate" from the population at the polls to give himself a real "balance of power" with Ottawa.

On Tuesday morning, Trudeau's Quebec lieutenant and Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez noted that "Quebec already has the tools to choose a very large majority of its immigrants."

The province welcomes about 50,000 immigrants a year.

Rodriguez said nearly 10,000 immigrants come annually through family reunification, adding that nothing prevents Quebec from increasing the number of economic immigrants it receives.

National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier was blunt, saying she does not "believe" Legault's claims.

"It's important to respect jurisdictions, and we can't just do it when it suits us," she said.

The Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, for his part, maintained that "the powers in matters of immigration are very clear."

According to him, "the number one issue" right now is the labour shortage and immigration is a key to solving this problem.

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 31, 2022. Top Stories

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