CAQ: Immigrants will have three years to learn French, or leave Quebec

CTV Montreal

Published Friday, September 7, 2018 11:23AM EDT

Last Updated Friday, September 7, 2018 1:17PM EDT

A Coalition Avenir Quebec government would give new immigrants three years to learn French, or else leave the province, according to party leader Francois Legault. 

Legault explained that newcomers would be issued a temporary certificate, and would then have three years to take free French classes and pass a basic test. 

“It’s a matter of time before the majority comes non-French speaking,” Legault said. “So I think it’s important for us that in the next one, two, three, four generations that we still speak French.”

Those who fail, Legault added, would find themselves in the same position as a student or temporary worker who has to leave once their government-delegated time is up. 

However, Legault was clear on the fact that this was not an “expulsion” plan. People who don’t take the initiative to follow these French courses, he said, can’t be very serious about immigrating to Quebec. 

“We’re not talking about separation with the rest of Canada – we’re talking about protecting French, and I think it’s a consensus,” he added.

Legault told reporters that 56 per cent of immigrants who arrive in Quebec do not speak French. Twenty-six per cent of them eventually leave, and the unemployment rate among those in Quebec for five years or longer is 14.1 per cent. 

The plan, Legault said, is to rectify integration problems at a provinical level. 

The CAQ also announced a $200 million investment to clean lands contaminated by refineries in Montreal East. 

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