Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with Quebec Premier Francois Legault in Sherbrooke, Que. on Thursday, January 17, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

NATIONAL POLITICS

Quebec Premier Legault leaves Trudeau meeting empty-handed but hopeful

The premier reiterated his desire to have newcomers demonstrate a knowledge of French

Quebec Premier Francois Legault upped his tone Thursday on demands that the federal government let the province reduce immigration, impose language and values tests on new arrivals and collect millions more dollars for refugee settlement.

One of Legault’s main election promises was to “temporarily” reduce immigration by 20 per cent, starting this year. Quebec controls who arrives in the province as economic immigrants, but Ottawa decides newcomers in the two other categories: family re-unification and refugees.

Following his Oct. 1 victory, Legault has been careful not to come off too strong in his demands from Ottawa, but he was more forceful on Thursday.

“What I understand is we would get an answer in the coming weeks,” Legault told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Sherbrooke, Que. He mentioned there will be a series of meetings between federal and provincial ministers in Gatineau in two weeks’ time.

READ MORE: Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

“So I hope we get answers then,” Legault continued. He added that it is getting “a little urgent” on the issue of immigration levels, since the year is already more than two weeks old.

The premier reiterated his desire to have newcomers demonstrate a knowledge of French and of the values contained in the provincial charter of rights before receiving citizenship. Legault said Trudeau was open to the idea but did not give a firm commitment.

Other demands made during the meeting included $300 million in federal compensation for costs associated with the recent influx of refugees entering Quebec and approval of a single income tax return to be managed by the province.

“We want $300 million, the federal government is offering $140 million, but he said he’ll come back to us with another offer,” the premier said.

While Ottawa has signalled it’s willing to continue talking about a reduction of immigrants and more money for refugees, it’s less keen on giving up its management of taxes.

Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said the 5,000 bureaucrats in Quebec who work in the Revenue Department have good jobs. “We want to preserve those jobs,” he said.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Small crowd gathers to watch 231-tonne stacker-reclaimer load onto barge crane

The Dynamic Beast barge crane, known for work with Johnson Street Bridge, makes a return

National Drug Drop-Off month aims to reduce substance abuse by house-bound youth

Expert says there is misconception prescribed medication is safe to take

Saanich Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary hosts pop-up fundraiser in Sidney

Temporary store to feature unique hand made gifts, collectibles, clothing, books and more

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Crews work overnight to try to put out wildfire on Pender Island

Fire department and B.C. Wildfire Service crews extinguishing fire in ‘extremely difficult terrain’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read