There were 177,000 temporary immigrants who set foot on Quebec soil in 2021, which justifies Quebec repatriating federal selection powers to better respond to the labor shortage and ensure the sustainability of French, pleads the minister Jean Boulet.

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Figures and infographics in hand, the Minister of Immigration vigorously denounces the current division of powers with Ottawa to choose and admit newcomers.

Last year, people with temporary resident status accounted for 77% of the overall picture of immigration to Quebec, according to government figures.

Note, however, that this data presents temporary immigrants who were in the territory on December 31, 2021, which may therefore include international workers or students who had obtained their permit for more than a year.

According to the same data, Quebec controls only 14% of its immigration, the rest coming from Canada.

“It’s complicated, it’s long, it doesn’t make sense and we are not able to meet our economic needs, particularly in the French-speaking regions and in French,” said Jean Boulet, in an interview.

French speakers

Moreover, the proportion of Francophones among temporary immigrants is not high enough for his liking.

Since the federal government has no requirements in this regard, only 37% of people admitted under the temporary foreign worker program, 52% of those under the international mobility program and 57% of foreign students have knowledge of French.

“The weight of Quebec in the federation, it is completely diluted and me, for temporary immigration, if I had an objective to express, it is that the percentage of temporary immigrants who speak French is at least equal to the percentage of Francophones in the host population, about 82%,” insists the Minister.

Despite Justin Trudeau’s repeated refusals to cede more powers to Quebec, Jean Boulet says he is convinced that dialogue is the way to go.

He recalls that the agreement with the federal government on immigration dating from 1991 allows Quebec to send a notice of negotiation to Ottawa in order to reopen the agreement and renegotiate the terms.

But he has not used this tool yet.

Parliament divided

The subject of immigration once again ignited the exchanges yesterday at the National Assembly.

Two diametrically opposed visions clash and the clash is brutal.

For François Legault, the language spoken at home is fundamental to the survival of French.

The Liberals accuse the Prime Minister of wanting to invite himself into the cottages.

“It’s not up to Mr. Legault, it’s not up to the government to say what language I use around my dinner table at home!” said Liberal MP Saul Polo yesterday.