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Language cannot be the main criterion in the distribution of asylum seekers, says Quebec

Photo: Jacques Boissinot La Presse canadienne La ministre de l’Immigration, Christine Fréchette

The language criterion cannot be the main factor in the distribution of asylum seekers across Canada, according to the CAQ government. If the latter still wishes to see more of these immigrants heading to other provinces, this must first be done “on a voluntary basis”, indicated Thursday the Minister of Immigration, Christine Fréchette.

The elected official of François Legault's government thus reacted to the most recent report from the French language commissioner, Benoît Dubreuil, who recommended Wednesday that mastery of the French language becomes a criterion in the distribution of applicants for 'asylum. In this scenario, applicants who do not speak French would be redirected to the rest of Canada.

“Exactly a year ago, the federal government put in place a system to ensure that oxygen was given to Quebec, to ensure that all asylum seekers were distributed more widely in Ontario and the provinces. Atlantic”, recalled Minister Fréchette on Thursday in a press scrum with her colleague at the French Language, Jean-François Roberge. “We are asking to take this approach again and to ensure that, on a voluntary basis, asylum seekers are [redirected]. »

Questioned about the French language criterion, Ms. Fréchette repeated that she was asking “the federal government to act on a voluntary basis for the distribution of asylum seekers.” “The means he uses to do so is at his discretion,” she added.

In Ottawa, the federal Minister of Immigration, Marc Miller, did not wait to reject the proposals of the French language commissioner. In response to a question from the member for Lac-Saint-Jean, the Bloc Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe, he argued that “deporting people who do not speak French to [the rest of] Canada” would be “an illegal, immoral, who would lack humanity.”

The spoken language “should not be the main criterion,” he continued when asked directly about Commissioner Dubreuil’s recommendation.

Ottawa must “come out of its bubble”

At the beginning of the year, Prime Minister François Legault sent a letter to his federal counterpart, Justin Trudeau, to demand that asylum seekers, who arrive largely through the Montreal-Trudeau airport, be better distributed across across Canada. “We have a critical situation in Quebec,” Ms. Fréchette said Thursday, while asking Ottawa to “come out of its bubble.”

But, since then, nothing. Although Minister Miller assured Thursday that he was working to “spread the burden that Quebec carries”.

At the Salon Bleu, Thursday, the leader of the Parti Québécois, Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, accused the CAQ government of being “responsible for the worst linguistic decline in our history.” His fellow MP Pascal Bérubé accused Minister Fréchette of not wanting to “offend her federal counterpart”. Like the French language commissioner, the sovereignist group supports the idea of ​​distribution based on language. “It’s a good proposal,” said Mr. Bérubé, PQ immigration spokesperson.

In response to Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon, Minister Roberge recalled that his government was working on a “national awakening” on the French language. “It takes nerve to […] ask for a national awakening when we are so asleep on this issue,” replied the PQ leader, before being called to order by the President of the Assembly national for the use of the unparliamentary word “chut”.

If it supports the French language commissioner on the need for a better distribution of asylum seekers, Québec solidaire wishes, like the Coalition Avenir Québec, that these transfers be done in a “voluntary” manner “. “We won’t put people who don’t want to go elsewhere on a bus. In any case, we cannot do that,” argued the solidarity spokesperson on immigration, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard.

“As long as it’s going to be voluntary, it won’t be inhumane. As long as people are going to consent,” he added.

The Quebec Liberal Party does not see things the same way as Commissioner Dubreuil. “If immigrants want to stay permanently, we must put in place programs that will allow them to learn French. We can't walk out the door and say: 'You don't speak French, we're denying you access,'” argued the party's interim leader, Marc Tanguay.

With Boris Proulx

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116