Thu. Feb 29th, 2024

Québec solidaire calls for a more serious debate on immigration

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Guillaume Cliche-Rivard is the spokesperson for Québec solidaire on immigration matters. (Archive photo)

Radio-Canada

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Immigration continues to fuel discussions in Quebec. In an open letter published on Sunday, solidarity deputy Guillaume Cliche-Rivard deplores that certain elected officials mention immigration as one of the causes of the housing crisis, or even as the main cause.

The member for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, who made a career as an immigration lawyer before making the leap into politics, maintains that some political leaders are cutting corners in this debate and others are completely distorting the facts.

Quebec has nothing to gain from the discussion around immigration taking a polarizing turn.

A quote from Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, solidarity MP

François Legault relaunched the debate on immigration at the beginning of the week when he asked the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stem the flow of asylum seekers. Without federal intervention, the Premier of Quebec estimates that the province's reception capacities will soon reach their breaking point.

This outing has not convinced Justin Trudeau to review his immigration targets, he who intends to welcome 500,000 permanent immigrants to Canada each year.

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An oath-taking ceremony to obtain Canadian citizenship (Archive photo)

For its part, the Parti Québécois indicated that it was considering further reducing its target, which is 35,000 immigrants per year, due to the housing crisis.

Each in their own way, the positions of Paul St-Pierre Plamondon and Justin Trudeau are irresponsible and risk having serious consequences on the future of Quebec, believes Mr. Cliche-Rivard, immigration spokesperson for Québec solidaire.

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Of the 65,000 immigrants that Quebec will welcome in 2024, at least half already have housing in Quebec. For what? Because they come to join people who live in Quebec or they already live there! said Mr. Cliche-Rivard, referring to students and foreign workers already established in the province.

The solidarity representative recognizes, however, that the considerable increase in the number of temporary immigrants has consequences and that welcoming half a million people has an impact on the housing crisis.

He deplores a lack of will on the part of François Legault in terms of enforcing the agreement with Ottawa.

The federal government is supposed to ask for Quebec's consent for all temporary immigrants who settle in Quebec, while at the moment, more than half of the workers are here without Quebec's agreement, he says.

Justin Trudeau has indicated his intention to regain control over temporary immigration to Canada, more specifically with regard to foreign students and temporary workers .

He invited higher education establishments and businesses to find housing solutions for these temporary residents themselves.

The The increase in the number of asylum seekers also poses a major challenge. The Border Services Agency and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada processed a record number of 144,035 applications in 2023, including more than 65,500 in Quebec, according to the most recent data from Ottawa.

This is an increase of more than 56% from the 92,000 applications filed in Canada in 2022.

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Asylum seekers at Roxham Road in 2023.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon suggested to François Legault to repatriate full powers in matters of #x27;immigration while the federal government is, according to him, in full ideological drift on the question of immigration.

It is necessary that Quebec is finally being respected by the federal government […] and we must also find common ground with Ottawa so that all the provinces do their fair share in welcoming asylum seekers, believes Guillaume Cliche-Rivard .

In addition, Québec solidaire requests that a committee of experts study the question of Quebec's reception capacity to determine a target realistic in matters of immigration. In addition, to help resolve the housing crisis, he suggests accelerating housing construction.

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