Início Uncategorized Current immigration levels could lead to ‘overreaction’ against newcomers, Legault says –...

Current immigration levels could lead to ‘overreaction’ against newcomers, Legault says – Montreal


Quebec Premier François Legault warned Friday there’s a risk of “overreaction” against newcomers if the province maintains its current immigration levels.

Legault told reporters on the Gaspé Peninsula he doesn’t want to see Quebec end up like the United States or France, where the debate on immigration has fuelled extremist views. Recent data show there’s been an increase of more than 300,000 non-permanent residents in Quebec in the last two years, a number Legault said is more than the province can accommodate.

“There’s a risk of reaction or overreaction in the face of impacts on services, on the French language, on housing,” he said. “We have to be balanced in how many immigrants we take in every year.”

Legault’s comments came in response to a question about whether he fears a “rise of the right” in Quebec and Canada. Concerns about immigration have fuelled the popularity of far-right parties in several European countries, including France, where the anti-immigration National Rally is leading in polls heading into the first voting round in parliamentary elections this weekend.

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In the United States, President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump clashed on immigration during a televised debate Thursday night, and the issue will likely be a flashpoint in the 2024 presidential election.


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“What I hope is that we don’t end up in the same situation as the United States or France,” Legault said. “I think Quebecers have always been welcoming. But we can’t welcome 300,000 new people in two years. That’s too many.”


Click to play video: 'Ottawa to give Quebec $750M to deal with surge in temporary immigrants'


Ottawa to give Quebec $750M to deal with surge in temporary immigrants


Legault has said temporary immigrants are entirely responsible for the province’s housing crisis — a claim housing advocates deny — and that newcomers are putting a strain on Quebec’s health-care and education systems as well. He also says about one-third of temporary immigrants don’t speak French, which limits their ability to integrate.

The premier has been pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reduce immigration levels to Quebec, and says he wants to cut the number of asylum seekers in the province by half. After a meeting with Legault earlier this month, Trudeau announced the federal government was offering the province $750 million to help support newcomers, but didn’t commit to any targets for cutting immigration.

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According to Statistics Canada data published last week, there were 597,140 non-permanent residents in Quebec in the second quarter of 2024, compared to 421,149 a year earlier and 295,147 in 2022. The total has gone up in every quarter since 2021, and the portion of the total population composed of non-permanent residents has doubled to 6.6 per cent from 3.3 per cent in three years.

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