(Quebec) The Federation of Quebec Chambers of Commerce (FCCQ) is asking to “depoliticize” the issue of immigration and a clear definition of “accommodation capacity”.
She dissociates herself from the threshold of 80,000 new arrivals per year which had been launched by a group of business leaders of which she was a part last week. This exit had revived the controversy over immigration.
The president of the FCCQ, Charles Milliard, demands that we get out of the “war of numbers” on the “ideal threshold”, of the ongoing controversy over the number of immigrants that Quebec should welcome in the context of the labor shortage.
“It worries me that this is becoming an extremely emotional campaign topic, because immigration is always a polarizing topic,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday.
“It takes political impetus to depoliticize the debate,” he summed up.
However, last week, the FCCQ went out with other business leaders to demand more immigrants, in order to meet the needs for personnel, that is to say 80,000 per year, even 90,000 – that is to say 30,000 to 40,000 more than the official threshold of 50,000 set by the Legault government.
“We do not know, what is the exact figure, pleaded Mr. Milliard. I am not here to criticize the figure of my colleagues. »
Mr. Milliard now wants us to first define what the reception capacity of Quebec is, for each region, with clear parameters, on the availability of public services, such as francization, places in CPEs, family doctors, leisure facilities, public transport, etc.
“Each time we agree on a criterion, a variable evaluated to measure capacity, we reduce the political game, then we risk agreeing more and making it a subject that is less polarizing,” he said. he argued. After that, there will always be political ideologies, and that’s okay. We are in a democracy. »
He would like a forum with representatives from the regions, the economic world and the socio-community milieu for this data collection and decision-making exercise. Thereafter, it would be possible to objectively calculate the reception capacity of Quebec, according to Mr. Milliard.
In addition, the FCCQ deplores that the public consultations which were to take place this summer on the multi-year planning of immigration thresholds have been postponed until next year by the Legault government, after the elections.
“Imagine, the happiness of having an election campaign where we would not have this divisive subject in the legs,” he suggested.
Throughout the week, immigration issues made the headlines.
After the exit of the employers’ associations, the Parti Québécois had questioned their claim on the increase in the thresholds and had called for an “objective and serene debate”, based on “scientific data”.
Then, the CAQ government and the PQ asked the federal government to close Roxham Road, this irregular entry route for asylum seekers from the United States.
Premier François Legault reported that a hundred newcomers crossed the border every day and that this pressure on public services was unsustainable for Quebec.
The CAQ leader criticized the leader of the opposition, Dominique Anglade, for wanting to raise the thresholds and to endorse the figure of 70,000 immigrants per year, which she had resumed during the question period.
Mr. Legault recalled that the threshold is currently set at 50,000, but that there are 18,000 people who have been added to catch up with the year 2020, when the bar fell to 26,000, in due to border closures at the worst of the pandemic.
Radio-Canada has also calculated that in fact, Quebec would welcome at least 100,000 immigrants, all categories combined: 70,000 regular immigrants; around 30,000 temporary foreign workers; and at least 8,000 people intercepted so far after passing through Roxham Road.
According to recent data, there would be no less than 240,000 positions to be filled throughout Quebec and economic circles are pressing for the Legault government to admit more immigrants.