Presse Canadienne, May 31, 2018
“We’ll take everybody,” Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume told Montreal’s Board of Trade on Wednesday, adding that his city’s economic future is threatened by a lack of workers and immigration is the solution to the problem.
In a speech to the business group, Labeaume said that any boost in his region’s economy was being undermined by a lack of labour that has led to 17,000 jobs going unfilled.
“We need immigrants,” he pleaded, adding that he’s ready not only to welcome specialized workers but also unskilled labour to fill jobs in the hotel and restaurant sectors. “We’re so stuck, we’ll take everybody.”
Labeaume jokingly noted that he’d be ready to take any unemployed immigrants in Montreal and put them to work in his city, but added that over the next decade, Quebec’s population will become more diverse.
“In Quebec City, a white, Judeo-Christian city that speaks excellent French, we need immigration. If not, our economic future is in doubt,” he said, pointing out that companies unable to find employees will simply relocate to where that labour is available, and that reality needs to be explained to the province’s population.
The mayor told his audience that while Quebec’s immigrant population was growing, that rate of growth needed to increase to fill the 1.3 million jobs that are expected to open up in the province during the next decade.
Labeaume said he doubted that last year’s attack on a Quebec City mosque would discourage immigrants from coming to his city to live and work.