Irshadgul News report,
It can be difficult to ascertain what François Legault really believes about immigration.
The issue was not central to his earlier campaigns as leader of the Coalition Avenir Québec, the party he co-founded with a billionaire friend.
However, after some mid-election results in 2012 and 2014, Legault began increasing immigration with increasing frequency. His proposal to cut immigration levels and impose price tests on newcomers were centerpieces of the party’s platform in 2018, for example, when it came to power with a solid majority.
But like now, when Legault speaks about immigration, he is liable to lie, contradictions, or flirt with outright xenophobia—often before correcting himself.
And now immigration is again at the forefront of the CAQ as it campaigns for another term in government ahead of the October 3 provincial election. And once again Legault is done Commenting that he is forced to correct.
He apologized earlier this month after suggesting that higher immigration levels would come with “extremism” and “violence”.
Just days later, during a speech to supporters in Drummondville, Legault said it was Quebec’s close-knit society that allowed it to go through the worst of the pandemic.
But that harmony, he warned, is sometimes shaken and needs protection. Later, reporters asked him which of his rivals posed the biggest threat to social unity.
Legault responded by pointing to the higher immigration levels proposed by the Quebec Liberals and Quebec Solidaires, and calling for the decline of the French language in the province.
Many concluded that he meant non-Francophone immigrants threatening Quebec’s social cohesion.
As opponents, columnists and a federal cabinet minister expressed their disapproval, Legault sought to clarify what he meant.
“Immigration enriches Quebec. But we have limited potential for French-language integration,” he said naturally in French.
Legault is campaigning on a promise to limit immigration to 50,000 people per year, a figure it is meant to maintain. The status quo, even as business groups say more is needed to address the severe labor shortage.
But his tendency to hold back calls into question his true motivation for Freeze.
Sometimes, he says, limiting immigration is necessary to protect the French language. Other times, they say it is to defend a more vague concept of Québécois values.
However, it may be possible to piece together a more complete understanding of Legault’s ideas about immigration from his observations of history.
‘It is a duty to protect this society’
Legault has long maintained the cultural practices of immigrants, especially from Muslim countries, threaten Quebec’s values.
In 2016, his party finished third in the polls, with Legault saying that immigrants who supported the burkini – a swimsuit designed for Muslim women – should not be granted citizenship.
It also became part of his party’s plan at the time to force immigrants to pass a price test or be expelled from the province.
Defending the idea in 2018, Legault said: “I am proud of the kind of society our ancestors left us and I feel it is our duty to protect this society.”
As premier, Legault implemented the price test, although the consequences of receiving a failing grade were softened when he was forced to admit that Quebec did not have jurisdiction over relegation.
His government also passed a law banning religious symbols in large parts of the civil service, which Legault sometimes justified as a message to newcomers that “in Quebec, that’s how we live.”
More recently, Legault has linked immigration with the decline of the French language.
In a speech in May, he stressed that Quebec needed more control over the family reunification stream of immigration to limit the number of non-Francophones accepted by the province each year.
Without those additional powers, Legault said, Quebec would become as francophone as Louisiana. According to Statistics Canada, language experts have said that while French remains fragile in Quebec, Legault was exaggerating, noting that 94 percent of the population can converse in French.
But then again, Legault has previously expressed disdain for Ottawa’s family-integration program.
“It’s been that it’s not just the parents’ children anymore, it’s uncles, aunts, cousins… they come with zero terms. And the majority don’t speak French,” he told Le Devoire in 2017. Told.
Legault describes what anti-immigration politicians in the US call “chain migration”, often criticizing more liberal policies that are allegedly abused by immigrants.
But Legault’s statement was false. Only spouses and direct descendants are eligible under the family reunification program, which actually has a long list of conditions.
Later that year, he began to use the term “illegal migrants” to refer to asylum seekers on Roxham Road, an informal border crossing where tens of thousands have entered Quebec from the US in recent years.
Legault, who continues to call on Ottawa to close the crossing, warned of political consequences if steps are not taken to limit the number of refugees arriving in Quebec.
“The attitude of generosity and solidarity on the part of Quebecers towards refugees has been shaken,” Legault said in 2017. And if political officials don’t change their attitude, we can expect a backlash.
Following the example of Switzerland
From this collection of statements, a common theme appears to emerge.
Whether discussing values, language or sheer numbers, immigration appears in Legault’s mind to be associated with a force that can destabilize Quebec society – a potential problem that needs to be managed, as opposed to a resource. that can be tapped.
In recent times, he has given two more examples of his thinking.
Earlier this week, while trying to explain why he was so concerned about social cohesion, Legault described Sweden and Germany as two countries struggling to integrate immigrants.
He declined to elaborate on why he specifically mentioned those countries, but both have seen anti-immigrant parties rise in popularity because they accepted large numbers of refugees from Muslim countries.
Switzerland, on the other hand, has Quebec’s model to follow, Legault said at another point in the campaign.
The country, which has roughly the same population as Quebec, has some of the strictest citizenship requirements in Europe.