February 28, 2019 9:47 pm
Updated: February 28, 2019 10:17 pm

Quebec premier won’t back down over handling of immigration file

Quebec Premier François Legault is standing firm on his government's proposed immigration bill.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press
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Quebec Premier François Legault is standing firm as pressure mounts over his government’s proposed immigration legislation, saying he is only trying to address a backlog left by the previous Liberal government.

“The Liberal government kept 40,000 people waiting in Ottawa, another 40,000 in Quebec,” he said on Thursday. “The average time to wait was three years. It doesn’t make sense.”

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READ MORE: Quebec immigration minister urged to soften approach in Bill 9 hearings

Legault’s comments come on the heels of the province’s ombudsman calling on Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette to apologize to the thousands of immigration applicants whose files the Coalition Avenir Québec government is trying to scrap.

Marie Rinfret said on Wednesday during Bill 9 hearings at the National Assembly that she was “extremely concerned” by the provisions of the proposed legislation.

Since the bill was tabled on Feb. 7, Rinfret said she received more than 60 complaints from applicants who are worried and unsure as to what will happen to them.

WATCH: Fighting Quebec’s immigration bill

The City of Montreal and local groups who work with newcomers have also asked Jolin-Barrette to take a softer approach to Bill 9.

Earlier this week, a Quebec superior court judge granted a request by immigration lawyers to force the province to continue to process applications filed under the Regular Skilled Worker Program for a period of 10 days. The two parties will be back in court on March 7.

READ MORE: Quebec Superior Court grants temporary injunction in case of cancelled immigration files

Bill 9 is expected to be adopted later this year.

— With files from Global’s Raquel Fletcher and The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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