Quebec Premier François Legault said on Tuesday that he had no regrets about comments made on immigration to a business crowd last week.
Legault had said that every time the government accepts an immigrant from the province earning less than $ 56,000, it makes it harder to achieve their goal of increasing the average salary of Quebeckers.
He made the remarks on Friday at the Conseil du Petronet du Québec, an employers’ council. Radio-Canada obtained a copy and made it public on Monday, causing a stir.
The opposition attacked her comments on Tuesday, stating that the premier was insensitive.
Ruba Ghazal of Quebec Solitaire asked Legault during the question period whether his comments meant “good” and “bad” expatriates. Ghazal, who is an immigrant, said she was deeply hurt by Legault’s remarks.
“I worked in factories for a long time, and what I heard from them reminded me of the way we talk about products on assembly lines,” said Ghazal.
“Immigrants are not objects, let alone numbers, they are human beings.”
Legault said: “I do not regret what I said,” he told the legislature. “In Quebec, we want more economic immigration and then we first want to create positions that pay better.”
Ghazal said her parents arrived without “good jobs for $ 56,000”, but are proud that their daughter is a member of the National Assembly. She suggested that her family may have presented a “problem” for the premiere.
Legault said his government wants to increase economic immigration and fill 32,000 jobs in the province that pay more than $ 56,000, prioritizing newcomers with diplomas and training. The province is facing a labor shortage and has another 110,000 unfilled jobs that pay less than $ 56,000.
Legault said economic immigration accounts for 60 percent of the province, while 40 percent come in the form of refugees and through family resettlement.
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