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

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

Seabridge Gold starts drilling along proposed tunnel route north of Stewart

Twin tunnels will connect the KSM mine to its mill and tailings site

Mother grizzly bear with two cubs spotted on Gruchy’s Beach trail near Terrace

Conservation officers also warning public to stay away from Grizzlies on lower Kitimat River

Terrace conservation officers relocate Spirit bear

Bear roamed Kitsumkalum Valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Northern B.C. First Nations call for reversal of grizzly bear hunting ban

Growing grizzly populations have led to fewer ungulates and increased fear of attacks says Chad Day

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read