Quebec’s new immigration measures follies

10.29.08

There are so many things wrong with this that I hardly know where to begin. At the beginning, I suppose…

The Quebec government today announced several measures to help immigrants better integrate into Quebec society.

Immigrants will now be able to take free French courses before they leave their home country – either online or at an Alliance Française.

Well, okay, free French classes aren’t the worst idea in the world. But it doesn’t stop there.

Starting next January, all immigrants coming to Quebec will have to sign a declaration saying they will respect Quebec’s common values.

They must promise to learn French and respect the fact that Quebec is a secular society where men and women have equal rights.

The declaration will be included in the application to immigrate to Quebec and anyone who refuses to sign it will not be permitted to move here.

Right, as if forcing people to sign a declaration that is nothing but a formality, completely unenforceable, and utterly lacking in context in most of their home societies is in any way relevant. And since when did we start legislating people’s thoughts and opinions, anyway?

“Coming to Quebec is a privilege, not a right,” Immigration Minister Yolande James said yesterday at a press conference.

Apparently, now, so is freedom of expression.

The province also plans to favour immigrants who have the job skills that the Quebec labour market needs.

Except in refugee cases, most governments do this to an extent, so there’s nothing new here. But what about all those foreign-trained doctors who are currently driving taxicabs? Our problem isn’t in attracting skilled immigrants; it’s in getting rid of the yards of red tape that prevent those immigrants from actually using their skills.

Once they arrive in Quebec, the government will ask immigrants to attend seminars on adapting to life here and will increase the amount of support it gives to immigrants who are having trouble finding work.

For more on the folly that is these seminars, see Yannic’s blog.

James said the government also wants to persuade businesses to hire more minorities and said the public service must also hire more minorities.

At present, minorities make up 19 per cent of the public service. The government’s goal is to reach 25 per cent.

Yes, because quotas always work so well, don’t they? Well, it’s a chance for new immigrants to learn a few quintessentially Quebecois values, like tokenism, and hiring based on ethnicity instead of based on merit.

Many of the measures announced today were suggested by the Bouchard-Taylor commission on reasonable accommodation.

That explains a lot, actually.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: