ADQ pushes for more babies, fewer immigrants to protect French
The Ottawa Citizen
with files from The Montreal Gazette
Published: Thursday, March 13, 2008
QUEBEC – The Opposition Action dmocratique du Qubec wants the provincial government to cut down on immigration in light of a study suggesting French is becoming the minority language in Montreal. Instead, the ADQ wants Quebecers to have more children and it is even ready to create its own bucks for babies program.
The party unveiled plans yesterday for an ambitious family policy aimed at increasing the birth rate to two children per family from 1.6. The proposed measures include a $5,000 bonus to mothers for their third child.
It also tabled a motion yesterday urging the Charest government to review its decision to accept 10,000 more immigrants this year, saying the newcomers are not well integrated into Quebec society.
“We recruit them abroad, sell them the American Dream and tell them they will easily find a job here. But when they get here, the reality hits them in the face,” said Catherine Morissette, immigration critic for the ADQ.
“The unemployment rate among immigrants is incredibly high — at around nine per cent — but it's worse in some regions and among certain immigrant communities,” she added, quoting Statistics Canada figures.
Among people from North Africa, the figure is as high as 30 per cent.
Quebec, like the rest of Canada, depends on immigration for population growth.
But the Action dmocratique thinks the solution to the province's labour shortage is more babies, not more immigrants.
“Today, we are importing unemployment,” said policy commission chairman Stphane Le Bouyonnec.
The ADQ asked the government why, before raising the limit on immigration, it didn't release a study by demographer Marc Termote that concluded that if present trends persist, a minority of Montrealers would speak French at home by 2021. The study was ready last August, but withheld by Quebec's language watchdog until it was leaked to the media in January.
Premier Jean Charest didn't hesitate to deem the proposal intolerant and reminded ADQ leader Mario Dumont of his absence at the three-month-long commission on reasonable accommodation that looked into how to better integrate and accommodate minorities.
“The Opposition leader was nowhere to be seen at the commission. His party was the only one not to submit a brief at the hearings,” Mr. Charest said.
Mr. Dumont is the one who spearheaded the debate on reasonable accommodation and has often been accused of lighting a fire, but not being there when it was time to find solutions to the problem.