The petticoat was sticking out. François Legault's call for a strong mandate to negotiate the repatriation of all immigration powers was reminiscent of his predecessors in the PQ.
At the time, the mandate was to be used to implement sovereignist governance. This time, it is supposedly to ensure the survival of the Quebec nation.
In fact, the impact is the same, further isolating Quebec from the rest of the country.
François Legault dangles sovereignty 2.0, sovereignty within Canada.
But this approach goes beyond “a strong Quebec within a united Canada”. Because Law 96 and Law 21 are rooted not only in a rejection of multiculturalism, but in a rejection of the very relevance of the Supreme Court's right of scrutiny.
The weekend outing on immigration is ultimately just the straw that broke the camel's back.
The CAQ claims to define alone the terms of access to Canadian citizenship in Quebec. This may go without saying in a nationalist logic, but in fact, it is contrary to the very idea of Canada. From Ottawa to Washington via Berlin, no federal government would subscribe to such a request from one of its provinces or one of its states.
The case would be limited to pre-election partisan tactics, if François Legault had not crossed the Rubicon.
Previously, he at least tried to keep up appearances. Law 21 was not anti-Muslim, but pro-secular; Law 96 was not anti-Anglo, but pro-French.
By basing the survival of the Quebec nation on immigrants from family reunification, he dropped the masks. Suddenly, we are no longer in “take less to take care of it”. He veered squarely into “it’s the immigrants’ fault”.
It's mathematically crazy. Family reunification represents 13,000 immigrants per year. If half don't speak French, we're still not going to blame 6,500 people (some of whom will learn French anyway) for the nation's survival!
Does the Quebec nation regroup all those who embrace our language and our culture? Or has it become that of pure wool again?
The debate on immigration is an existential debate in Quebec. It is doubly complex, precisely because of the issue of language and integration.
Blaming family reunification is reductive and simplistic. The impact of temporary foreign workers and international students is much greater. These are the areas that should be addressed intelligently with the federal government.
However, after comparing Quebec to an upcoming Louisiana, does anyone really imagine that Ottawa will want to negotiate with Quebec now?
By launching into lame amalgams, François Legault may be offering a simplistic rallying cry to his electorate, but he is not serving the cause of Quebec.
Besides, he who dreams of investments and wealth creation, does he imagine that Moderna would have agreed to settle in Quebec without federal guarantees in terms of work permits for its experts and major researchers?
It is certainly not the reductive speech of François Legault that would have been enough to convince this new pharmaceutical giant to invest millions in Montreal!