Business and industry groups in Quebec want to almost double immigration to Quebec but a separatist opposition party in the francophone province is throwing cold water on that idea to resolve labour shortages.
Last year, 50,280 new permanent residents to Canada settled in that province.
Quebec Leads Way As Canada Unemployment Falls To New Record Low Of 5.2%
British Columbia, Quebec and the Yukon Hit Hardest By Canada Labour Shortages
Why Such Long Delays On Immigration Files In Quebec?
Business leaders want that that greatly increased to help resolve the province’s massive labour shortages. The reported consensus among industry groups is for Quebec to welcome 80,000 immigrants every year.
Four Business Organizations Call For Immigration Boost
Véronique Proulx, president of the Manufacturiers et Exportateurs du Québec (MEQ) manufacturing and exporting industry association, has reportedly called for the province to receive as many as 90,000 immigrants annually.
“We know the labour shortages cannot be fixed in the blink of an eye and it will take a series of strategies working in tandem to reduce the impact of the lack of workers,” Proulx said in a statement in French.
Last week, MEQ and three other business associations, the Conseil du Patronat du Québec (CPQ) employers’ group, the Fédération des Chambres de Commerce du Québec (FCCQ) association of chambers of commerce, and the Fédération Canadienne de l’Entreprise Indépendante (FCEI) association of independent businesses, lobbied the provincial political parties to take a series of measures to resolve the labour shortages.
Immigration was among them.
“With a Quebec provincial election (scheduled to take place on or before Oct. 3), it is important for us to inform political parties about the need to put in place solid strategies to grow the pool of workers and maintain Quebec’s competitive advantage,” said Proulx.
Parti Québécois Leader Nixes Notion of Higher Immigration
Not so fast, says the Parti Québécois (PQ) Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon.
Although it now only holds a small fraction of the seats in the provincial legislature, the PQ still holds disproportionate influence in Quebecois society as it has previously formed the government.
And it’s rejecting the call for more immigration to the province.
Instead, St-Pierre Plamondon wants a debate on immigration “based on science and not on ideology or false premises.”
“The simple fact of asking questions about raising immigration quotas raises implications about the intolerance of those bringing them up, which creates an atmosphere that is not serene,” he reportedly said.
But Quebec society must make its own decisions about immigration and answer for itself whether or not more immigration will in fact create more wealth and raise the per capita GDP, he said.
This is not the first time the PQ leader has tried to put the brakes on immigration.
In February, the federal government released its 2022-2024 Levels Plan in which it revealed Ottawa wants to welcome 431,645 permanent residents this year, 447,055 next year, and 451,000 in 2024.
Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said the higher immigration levels would allow Canada to resolve its labour shortages and boost the national economy.
“We are focused on economic recovery, and immigration is the key to getting there,” said. “Setting bold new immigration targets, as outlined in the 2022-2024 Levels Plan, will further help bring the immeasurable contribution of immigrants to our communities and across all sectors of the economy.”
That didn’t sit well with St-Pierre Plamondon.
He immediately fired off a letter to Quebec Premier François Legault, asking him if the province had been consulted about Canada’s new immigration targets.
PQ Fears Higher Immigration In Rest of Canada Will Water Down Quebec’s Demographic Clout
In that letter, the PQ leader also warned that higher levels of immigration to the rest of Canada could cut Quebec’s clout on the national political scene.
St-Pierre Plamondon noted Quebeckers now comprise only 23 per cent of the Canadian population, down from its previous level of 25 per cent. He warned that more immigrants in the rest of Canada could see Quebec comprise only 20 per cent of the Canadian population.
“Quebec is already in the position of being politically insignificant in the sense that to become prime minister of Canada, one no longer has to win over Quebec,” the leader of the separatist party reportedly said.
“Given the fragile state of francophones in North America, being part of a political structure that no longer needs to consider our interests to wield power, in view of the history of imperialism and colonialism in Canada towards francophones and indigenous people, the future is bleak for us if we remain a part of Canada.”