What Francois Legault says when he talks about immigration

It can be difficult to ascertain what François Legault actually believes about immigration.

The issue was not central to his first campaign as head of the Coalition Avenir Québec, a political party he co-founded with a billionaire friend.

But after half-baked election results in 2012 and 2014, Lego began recruiting immigrants with increasing frequency. His proposals to cut immigration levels and impose a value test on newcomers were central elements of the party’s platform, for example, when the party came to power with a convincing majority in 2018.

But even now, when Legos talks about immigration, he’s prone to spouting lies, contradictions, and flirting with outright xenophobia — often before correcting himself.

And now, immigrants are once again at the forefront of CAQ’s platform as it battles for its next term in office ahead of state elections on Oct. 3.And again Legart I have a comment that he was forced to fix.

He apologized earlier this month after suggesting that higher immigration levels would entail “extremism” and “violence”.

Immigrants pledge to become Canadian citizens in a live-streamed virtual citizenship ceremony on Canada Day, July 1. (Justin Tan/Canadian Press)

Just days later, in a speech to supporters in Drummondville, Lego said Quebec’s close-knit society allowed him to weather the worst of the pandemic.

However, that bond has been faltering at times, he warned, and needed protection. He was then asked by a journalist which rival posed the greatest threat to social cohesion.

Rego responded by pointing to the higher immigration levels proposed by Quebec liberals and Quebec Solidaire, citing the decline of the French language in the province.

Many have drawn the conclusion that non-French-speaking immigrants were meant to threaten Quebec’s social cohesion.

When opponents, columnists, and federal ministers voiced their disapproval, Lego tried to clarify what he meant.

“Immigrants enrich Quebec, but their ability to integrate French is limited,” he said, naturally in French.

From left to right: Conservative Party leader Eric Duhaim, Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade, Quebec Solidaire Co-Spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, Quebec Party leader Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon, Mr Legault, Moderator Pierre Brunei , on Sept. 15 in Montreal, to stand on set before the leaders’ debate. (Martin Chevalier/Pool/The Canadian Press)

Legault campaigns with a promise to limit immigration to 50,000 people a year. Business groups say more is needed to address severe labor shortages, but the status quo remains.

But his tendency to backtrack calls into question his true motives for Freeze.

Sometimes, he says, it is necessary to restrict immigration to protect the French language. He also says that he defends a vague notion of Quebec values.

However, it may be possible to more fully understand Legos’ views on immigration from the history of his comments.

“Duty to Protect Society”

Legault has long argued that the cultural practices of immigrants, especially from Islamic countries, pose a threat to Quebec values.

In 2016, his party finished third in a poll, with Lego saying immigrants who support the burkini (swimwear designed for Muslim women) should not be granted citizenship.

People demonstrate in Montreal following the court’s ruling against Bill 21, the secular law of Quebec, on April 20, 2021. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

It also became part of his party’s plan at the time to force immigrants to pass a worth test or be kicked out of the state.

Lego defended the idea in 2018, saying, “I am proud of the kind of society our ancestors left for us, and I think we have a duty to protect this society.

As prime minister, Rego conducted a value test, but the consequences of getting a failing grade were eased when he was forced to admit that Quebec had no deportation jurisdiction. rice field.

His government also passed a law banning religious symbols on most of its civil servants. Legos sometimes justifies it as a message to newcomers, “In Quebec, this is how we live.”

More recently, Lego associates immigration with the decline of the French language.

In a speech in May, he argued that Quebec needed more control over the flow of immigrant family reunification to limit the number of non-French-speaking people Quebec accepted each year.

A pregnant woman and a young man join hands with a police officer in medical gloves.
An RCMP officer greets two youths on Wroxham Road on June 28. In recent years, tens of thousands of people have entered Quebec from the United States at unofficial border crossings. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Without these permissions added, Quebec would be as French-speaking as Louisiana. Considered, while French remains vulnerable in Quebec, Lego says he exaggerates.

However, Lego has since previously expressed disdain for Ottawa’s family reunification program.

“Not just the children of their parents, but their uncles, aunts, cousins…they have come to us unconditionally. And the majority do not speak French,” he told Le Devoir in 2017.

Legault’s explanation resembles what US anti-immigrant politicians have called the “immigrant chain,” often used to criticize the more liberal policies allegedly being abused by immigrants.

However, Lego’s statement was false. Only spouses and direct descendants are typically eligible for family reunification programs, and in practice there are many conditions.

Later that year, he began using the term “illegal immigrants” to refer to asylum seekers passing through Wroxham Road, an unofficial border crossing through which tens of thousands of people entered Quebec from the United States in recent years. I was.

Legault, who continues to call on Ottawa to close crosswalks, warned of political consequences if steps are not taken to limit the number of refugees arriving in Quebec.

“The generosity and solidarity of the people of Quebec toward refugees is faltering,” Legault said in 2017.

Following the example of Switzerland

A common theme seems to emerge from this series of statements.

Whether discussing values, language, or sheer numbers, immigration seems to be associated in Lego’s mind with a force that can destabilize Quebec society.

Recently, he gave two more examples of his thinking.

Earlier this week, in an attempt to explain why he’s so worried about social cohesion, Lego named Sweden and Germany as two countries struggling to integrate immigrants.

Taxis carry asylum seekers from El Salvador at the Canadian border in Fort Erie, Ontario, July 5, 2017. (Chris Hellgren/Reuters)

He declined to elaborate on why he specifically mentioned those countries, but both have seen their anti-immigrant parties grow in popularity as they welcomed large numbers of refugees from Muslim-majority countries. .

Meanwhile, Switzerland is a model for Quebec to follow, Legault said at another point in the campaign.

With about the same population as Quebec, the country has some of the strictest citizenship requirements in Europe.

What Francois Legault says when he talks about immigration

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