May 30, 2019 3:56 pm
Updated: May 30, 2019 4:02 pm

Quebec politicians could work through summer if decision not made on bills 9 and 21

Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusiveness Simon Jolin-Barrette picks up documents on the first day of a legislature committee studying a bill on secularism, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at the legislature in Quebec City.

Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press
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Infighting between politicians at Quebec’s National Assembly could see an extension of the session into the summer.

Premier François Legault insisted Wednesday that he will not invoke closure on two controversial pieces of legislation, Bill 9 and Bill 21.

READ MORE: Immigrants, lawyers declare small victory against Bill 9 as injunction continues

Legault said he hopes both the bills will pass normally as he doesn’t like the idea of forcing them through without the support of the other parties.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) is blaming the Quebec Liberals for “blocking” debate and stalling the bills.

WATCH: UN condemns Quebec over bill 21


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“Quebecers vote for change, and we are not in a situation of status quo. The Liberals want status quo, and that will not happen,” Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette argued.

“I’m really clear about that. We have to go and adopt the different bills because we need some change in Quebec, and that’s what we were elected for.”

Jolin-Barrette is calling on Liberal Leader Pierre Arcand to “speak to” MNA Dominique Anglade, who has asked several questions about the bills.

READ MORE: Data suggests Anglophone support for Bill 21 lower than CAQ says — QCGN

“I say to him: ‘Come to my commission and see the work of your colleague,'” Jolin-Barrette argued.

“It’s not serious, the acting of Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne MNA Dominique Anglade. They are blocking the legislative process. Quebecers want that we adopt important bills.”

WATCH: Montreal asks government to take more human approach on immigration

The Liberals had previously stated they had three amendments pending on Bill 9: that the 18,000 pending immigration files be processed, that the giving of permanent residence status not be conditional on passing a Quebec values test and that the clause putting an administrative burden on companies be removed.

READ MORE: Quebec will likely continue to process 18,000 immigration files — for now

The party said it felt there was also no urgency to push Bill 21 forward before the fall.

“What’s deplorable is every time we talk about a specific article, we see that no study has been done,” Anglade fired back.

“For example, yesterday we asked if there was a study done on how this bill will impact the economy. The minister was unable to answer this question.”

WATCH: Call for calm after Montreal Mayor threatened for opposing secularism bill

The minister argues he has been working in good faith during hearings for both bills and has accepted amendments from both the Liberals and Québec Solidaire.

READ MORE: EMSB vows not to comply with Quebec’s proposed religious symbols ban

“They (the Liberals) have to change their attitude. For over 10 years, we talk about laicity of the state. It’s time to turn the page by June 14,” Jolin-Barrette said.

“When you’re at the National Assembly, you have to be serious.”

The National Assembly will sit on Monday, June 3, beginning with question period to give the MNAs another day of debate.

READ MORE: Immigration lawyers responsible for injunction against Quebec debate minister in Bill 9 hearings

“The objective of the bill is a positive objective. We want more immigrants in the region, we want to integrate immigrants better,” Anglade said.

“He (Simon Jolin-Barrette) can’t answer questions. He hasn’t done his homework, and we see this constantly and he wants us to just sign a blank cheque.”

Jolin-Barrette is in charge of bills 9 and 21 so commissions for both pieces of proposed legislation cannot sit at the same time.

READ MORE: UN experts ‘concerned,’ want answers about Quebec religious symbols bill

“We don’t even know if tomorrow we’re going to be talking about Bill 9. (On) Monday, we don’t even know what we’re going to be talking about. We have no idea, no visibility,” Anglade said.

“We need to go through the process to do a good job. Whatever time it takes, we’re willing to do that. The problem is we have no visibility on what the minister wants to do.”

The last day of the session is expected to be June 14, and the CAQ says it wants both those bills to be passed by then.

WATCH: Quebec immigration hearings bring National Assembly to a standstill

rachel.lau@globalnews.ca

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