Immigration: Minister Jolin-Barrette Rejects the UN Representative

The National Assembly was the scene Thursday of a strong exchange between the Minister of Immigration, Simon Jolin-Barrette, and the representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
J ean-Nicolas Beuze invited Québec to welcome more refugees, who are among those who best integrate economically and socially, he said.

He was testifying before parliamentarians on Thursday as part of the consultation on immigration planning in Quebec for the period 2020-2022.

The government’s plan for the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) is to lower the immigration thresholds this year and then gradually increase them until 2022, and increase the proportion of economic immigrants to the detriment of refugees.

Mr. Beuze denounced the speech of the CAQ, which makes the refugees appear as a burden for society, according to him.

“We have to be careful about this dichotomy, which tends to say that refugees are a burden, as you are trying to emphasize right now. This is not necessarily the reality, “he said, before being snubbed by Minister Jolin-Barrette.

“I never said that refugees were a burden, I never said (…) that. The comments you give me are not acceptable, replied the minister, visibly irritated. You make a lot of shortcuts. ”

Earlier, Mr. Jolin-Barrette had inquired as to whether the High Commissioner in person was aware of the statements made by Mr. Beuze. The latter indicated that he had a direct line with the High Commissioner.

Quebec solidarity spokesman Andrés Fontecilla, who was in the room, told the media that he felt uneasy during the exchange.

“(The Minister) does not go to the heart of the matter, that is to say the opinions of our guest – it is our guest anyway! – but in the form, “he said.

Like Mr. Beuze, the Solidary MP lamented that the Minister dwells on the “costs” of hosting refugees, not to mention the “benefits” they can provide to society as a whole.

In the scrum of the press, Mr. Jolin-Barrette repeated that he believes Quebec is doing its part. In recent years, the province has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to welcome refugees, he said.

The Government’s Immigration Plan provides for the admission of 40,000 immigrants to Quebec in 2019, a decrease of more than 20 per cent compared to the total number of immigrants admitted in recent years throughout Quebec. and in each of the immigration categories.

The government’s intention is to gradually increase the number of immigrants admitted during the period to reach 49,500 to 52,500 in 2022, and to reach the end of the period a proportion of persons admitted to the economic immigration in the order of 65 per cent.

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