Quebec / Canada: Sneaky immigration and white nationalism become the stars of the current electoral campaign.

Quebec's political leaders, Jean-François Lisée, Philippe Couillard, Manon Massé, and François Legault were all smiles before engaging in the first of three debates in Montreal on Sept. 13, 2018. Photo by Josie Desmarais

The leaders’ debate this Thursday, September 13, 2018 in Montreal, was not convincing and some say that there are really no winners. Many voters have remained unsatisfied. Some leaders have crossed the rink, advocating a reduction in the number of incoming immigrants from 53 miles to 40 miles. Like what the misfortune of Quebec (a province of Canada) would be related to the number of newcomers. For some time now, immigration and Islam have become the favorite targets of politicians with no advertising. The immigration issues that were being addressed at the time with a great deal of respect are now the subject of very clumsy and frustrating statements for newcomers. Will xenophobia and white radical nationalism be flourishing in Canada?

Immigration a solution to the aging of the Quebec / Canada population

The density of the population of Quebec would be 6 inhabitants per km² (nowadays). Elsewhere it would be 57 for Senegal, 112 for France, 338 for Japan, 31 for the United States and 3.3 for Canada. These figures are from 2005 and are for illustrative purposes only. This Canadian province is very sparsely populated with a total fertility rate of 1.54 children per woman in 2017, up from 1.59 in 2016. Not surprisingly, the increase in life expectancy and the low since 1970 have transformed the face of Canada in general. Births are not enough, in the absence of immigration, to renew the population, according to Laurent Martel, Director of the Demography Division at Statistics Canada. This federal agency predicts that one in four Canadians will be over the age of 65 in 15 years. In five years, people aged 65 and over are under 14 years old. The demographic weight of seniors is an undeniable sign of the aging of the Canadian population, whereas a century ago young people were the most numerous.

The same phenomenon is observed in Quebec, where the working population has experienced a decrease in favor of the elderly. The evolution of Ontario’s population (neighboring province) has remained relatively stable, thanks to sustained immigration. However, the population here is unable to renew itself. It needs a significant number of immigrants to overcome the deficit and fill the labor shortage. In addition, the decrease in the proportion of Quebec’s population in Canada has negative political and economic effects. It would reduce the representation of this province in the federal Parliament and reduce its federal transfers, not to mention the impact on the French language, which is the only official language in Quebec.

Nevertheless, a certain layer of the population remains allergic to immigration. This phenomenon has been amplified by some racist and xenophobic politicians. The media also reportedly fueled the blame by accusing immigrants of not integrating and refusing to speak the language of the majority, which is French. Moreover, more and more radical movements have invaded public space for some time. One of these groups assures that his fight is to protect the Quebec nation against the invasion of Islam. Others seem to target cultural minorities outright, without saying so publicly.

Representation of minorities in Québec institutions (continuation and end, see preceding article)

In Montreal (Quebec City), one in three people is from visible and ethnocultural minorities. Yet very few are represented in paramunicipal societies and associated organizations. The Plante administration (named after the current mayor, Valérie Plante) is highly criticized for the low representation of visible minorities in her ranks. Many requests have been sent to her to take concrete action in favor of diversity. The Police Service of the City of Montreal (SPVM) has 14.5% of visible minorities among its police and administrative staff. We are still far from the 34% of the population of the city of Montreal, but efforts have been made in recent years. On the other hand, the headquarters of the Sûreté du Québec (police of the Quebec state or political police) has white skin at 99.5%. Fewer than 30 visible minorities are employed there. It would take five times more, but the organization has stagnated – or even declined – for years in this area of recruitment.

Police and minorities.

Police in the city of Montreal are often singled out for their relations with minorities. In March 2018, she and two of her agents were sentenced by the Human Rights Tribunal to pay $ 12,000 in damages to a man for racial profiling in a case brought by the Commission on Human Rights and Rights. of the youth. According to the facts reported by the judgment, a young man of Ghanaian origin worked as a delivery man for a restaurant and circulated in Montreal North around 4am. Two police officers intercepted his vehicle. After some checks, they found violations of the Highway Safety Code. Subsequently, the police arrested the complainant and his vehicle was towed. 

The attack on the Great Mosque of Quebec.

On January 29, 2017, a gunman, a Canadian national, opened fire on worshipers at the Islamic Center in Quebec City, Canada, killing six people and wounding eight others. The author of the shooting, Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old political science student, was known for his ultranationalism and xenophobia. It was the bombing of the Grand Mosque of Quebec considered a mass killing. The Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec had already been the subject of Islamophobic actions in the previous months. In June 2016, a pig’s head is deposited in front of this mosque in full Ramadan. A few weeks later, an Islamophobic letter is distributed in his neighborhood.

The revelations of the leaders’ debate of this Thursday, September 13, 2018

The leader of the Liberal Party Mr Couillard spent his time defending his record which was not very bright especially for the integration of minorities, health and others. He advocated an openness to immigrants but in reality he had not made any concrete gesture for their integration during his mandate. As a physician and former health minister, he would have given a $ 1 billion salary increase to medical specialists. His governance was based on amateurism and trial and error. The people would like to see a new government with new ideas. People are tired of its governance and a persistent wind of change could prevail. But nothing is played yet. A turnaround can cause a lot of surprises. He has a strong electoral base (Anglophones and minorities) which is his greatest asset.

On the other hand, Mr Lisée of the Parti Québécois has established himself as a statesman both in his behavior and in his statements. One felt a measured speech, courteous, empathetic and cautious. His election promises are realistic and achievable. This separatist is the default winner of this debate. But his ideas of sovereignty scare minorities. Ms. Masse came out to show generous election promises. We wonder how she will finance them. The score of his party can increase because his ideas are attractive.

Mr Legault has been present in all the sauces. It is a supporter of reducing the number of immigrants. In addition, it will impose a test of Quebec values on newcomers. According to him, those who fail these exams will simply be expelled. Expulsion is not even the province’s responsibility, but rather a prerogative of federal authority. Which means that he disregarded the immigration laws of his country. The cultural minorities of Quebec and their sympathizers will be able to turn their backs on him because it scares them. Their number far from negligible would be around 20% of the population. On the other hand, he can win more white supporters outside the Montreal area. It’s a safe bet that he will lose support. The next polls will give us a clear map on the impact of this debate on the evolution of the electorate.

Who will win the elections in Quebec?

There are still 2 weeks of campaign and nothing is played yet. All legal moves are allowed. It is obvious that the next premier of Quebec will be among the top 3 candidates (Couillard, Legault and Lisée). We hope that the people of Quebec will say no to anti-immigrants and reject any form of ideology based on the superiority of a race. The verdict of the polls on October 1st will tell us more. (To be continued after the elections)

Gondiel Ka

Montreal, Canada