Come Back Home, Ex-Quebecers Urged

Come back home, ex-Quebecers urged

Hubert Bauch
Canwest News Service
Published: Monday, March 17, 2008

MONTREAL — Quebec's Opposition Action democratique du Quebec is calling on expatriate Quebecers to return home.

The call to “return to the cradle” is part of a “population policy” announced by party leader Mario Dumont yesterday at the close of a two-day convention in Laval, north of Montreal, attended by 1,000 ADQ members.

The invitation extends to anglophones, who fled Quebec by the hundreds of thousands in the past three decades, Dumont said. However it includes no promise to loosen the restrictive language laws that drove most of them out in the first place.

“Elements of the language law and things like that, which displeased the English population, are of course there to stay,” he said when asked what inducements he has to offer them.

“These are part of the new equilibrium we have in Montreal.”

Dumont said what he is proposing is for them to come share in, and contribute to, the new prosperity an ADQ government would foster, and to be close once again to family and old friends still in the province.

Dumont noted that he deliberately made the come-back-home pitch in English in his closing speech. “My vision is inclusive, and it includes the English-speaking population.”

Other elements of the three-pronged population policy are measures to encourage a higher birth rate in the province and keeping immigration at the current level of 45,000 newcomers a year in order to better integrate newcomers into Quebec society.

The Liberal government, with the backing of the Parti Quebecois, has proposed boosting immigration by an additional 10,000 a year, an increase Dumont calls profoundly irresponsible. He rejected concerns expressed by some delegates in convention workshops that the party risks being perceived as anti-immigrant.

— Montreal Gazette