A “Values Test” for Quebecers.

The Quebec National Assembly seems to be constantly against immigration. Combined with the ill-disguised bigotry behind the Bill 21 restrictions on the wearing of religious symbols, it is sending a message to many potential immigrants that they are not wanted. The entire charade holds economic consequences that are little needed by Quebec or the rest of Canada.

First, this parochialism is damaging Canada’s reputation that has been built over many years. Canada has been known as a welcoming country. And there is little reason for the simple immigration test used by federal employees to not be in tune with Quebec as well as other provinces.

Immigrants are key to our economic growth. Jobs often depend on the availability of the right skills and experience. Quebec’s education system can do its best to educate for those needs but it is immigration that helps build our markets, while fulfilling the experience needed. These immigrants also bring knowledge of more markets to our businesses. Canada is a major trading country and we always need efforts to increase our markets and sales opportunities.

And immigrants are also key to increasing our domestic markets. Every immigrant is a consumer. They might not eat the same foods or wear the same styles, at first, but it is in time that they blend in with the rest of the community in which they live. And maybe we learn about how they prepare their food and learn of their clothing styles.

But like the Irish immigrants who came to Quebec to escape the potato famines of more than a century ago, today’s immigrants can also become Quebecers. And they both contribute to our values and share our values.

What people sometimes forget is that Canada is a country still under construction. It is hardly finished developing and growing. You cannot stifle it.

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Copyright 2019 © Peter Lowry

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