The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) wants to cut immigration to Quebec by 10,000 people — or 20 per cent — a year.
The party is holding its pre-session caucus in Saint-Jérôme; CAQ leader François Legault said his position on Quebec’s immigration policy sets him apart from the province’s current Liberal government.
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Premier Philippe Couillard accused Legault of intolerance when the CAQ leader spoke of restricting immigration during the last session.
The premier said he wants to increase immigration to the province by five per cent by 2019.
Tuesday, Legault insisted he’s trying to fix the problem of high unemployment among new immigrants in Quebec.
“For immigrants, the unemployment rate is at 18 per cent and I think that, unfortunately, the Liberal Party, since 2003, didn’t invest enough in the integration,” he said.
“They’ve increased the number of immigrants by 25 per cent, but the budgets only increased by five per cent.”
Legault insists he’s not against immigration, but decreasing the number of people allowed into the province each year from 50,000 to 40,000 ensures all newcomers have access to the proper resources and French-language courses that they need.
Monday, Legault stressed that he wants new immigrants to be tested on Quebec’s cultural values and follow a three-year probationary period.
In addition, the opposition party backtracked on its position to ban burkini bathing suits, but promised a secular Quebec, taking a page from the Parti Québécois (PQ) who tried to introduced the Quebec Charter of Values back in 2013.
Legault said he wants to prohibit people in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.
That would include teachers, judges, police officers and prison guards.
He said he plans to make this one of his top priorities going into the next session on Sept. 20.