Posted on September 18, 2022

Quebec Election: Federal Minister Says Legault Dividing Quebecers on Immigration

Jacob Serebrin, Canadian Press, September 12, 2022

Federal Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez has waded into the Quebec election campaign, saying it’s time for Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader François Legault to stop dividing Quebecers into “us and them.”

Rodriguez was responding to comments made by Legault at a campaign rally Sunday that non-French-speaking immigration to the province is a threat to “national cohesion.”

“It’s the first time that I’m considered as a threat. I didn’t speak French when I came to Canada. I was eight years old. I didn’t speak a word of French or English,” the minister, whose family immigrated from Argentina, told reporters outside a federal Liberal caucus meeting in St. Andrews, N.B. “Are my parents a threat? They didn’t speak French when they came in.”


Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade, whose parents were Haitian immigrants, told reporters in Laval, Que., that Legault’s comments were “pathetic” and accused him of deliberately trying to turn people against each other.

{snip}Responding to Anglade’s comments, Legault said immigration benefits Quebec, but the province’s capacity to accept immigrants is limited if it wants to protect the French language.

Legault said Monday that one reason Quebecers followed COVID-19 measures more than people elsewhere was because of Quebec’s “national cohesion,” describing the province as a “tight-knit” nation where people share “certain values.”

“To have national cohesion, you have to have a nation, a strong nation. For the Quebec nation to be strong, we have to protect French,” he told reporters in St-Lazare, Que.