Quebec’s immigration reform bill unlikely to be passed this spring, says premier

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WATCH: Quebec's premier says the province's immigration reform may not be passed this spring after all. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, there is a fight brewing over 18,000 applications the government wanted to toss out – May 28, 2019

Quebec Premier François Legault says his government’s immigration reform may not be passed this spring after all.

He blamed the Liberal opposition on Tuesday as the debate continues over the proposed legislation and over nearly 18,000 immigration applications the government wants to toss out.

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

The Quebec Liberal Party says it won’t vote in favour of any reform unless the government processes those files. A court injunction is forcing the province to continue processing those files until Bill 9 is adopted.

“That’s why we would like to adopt it in June,” said Legault. “But we may need to wait until fall and let down the companies because of the Liberal Party.”

READ MORE: ‘Tinder of immigration’: Quebec outlines plan for how to welcome newcomers

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government would prefer to use a new system called Arrima when it comes to accepting potential immigrants. Under that system, applicants would be selected based on job market needs instead of a first come, first serve basis.

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While Legault argues the Official opposition is hindering the debate around the proposed legislation, Liberal MNA Dominique Anglade says that isn’t the case.

“We’ve been constructive. We brought amendments,” said Anglade. “We believe that there are things that are positive in the bill, but there are elements that are very detrimental and we would like to get rid of them.”

READ MORE: Quebec’s plan to reduce immigration levels misguided, won’t help newcomers: study

The Liberals also want the government to abandon forced its proposed language and values tests. The legislation immigrants would be tested on their knowledge of the French language and Quebec values within their first three years of living in the province.

The CAQ government doesn’t have to continue to debate if it doesn’t want to — it can force a vote to adopt the bill at the end of the session in a couple weeks. However, Legault says he won’t do that.

“We don’t like that. We never like that,” Legault said.

Legault can give 24-hours notice if he changes his mind and announce a vote.

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