On September 13, the Chamber welcomed M. Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, Leader of the Parti Québécois, as part of a series of talks in anticipation of the 2022 Quebec elections.
During September, the leaders of Quebec's main political parties are presenting their proposals for the economic future of Quebec and Greater Montréal.
Quebec independence: still a relevant question
Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon began by reiterating why he believed Quebec needed to be free to make its own decisions.
“We saw it when countries were stealing masks from one another at the beginning of the pandemic. If you can't make your own choices, other people are going to decide for you. ” – Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the Parti Québécois
For the potential premier, independence would mean Quebec could stop participating in the oil industry.
“Yes, we need to talk about becoming independent. Because I have a hard time accepting that billions of our revenue go to help Ottawa subsidize oil companies”
An increase in immigration could worsen the labour shortage
If elected, the leader of the Parti Québécois would require newcomers to have a thorough understanding of French.
“We'd like for 100% of immigration to be economic in nature and for those immigrants to already know French when they arrive, which would speed up the process of integration.”
Based on the data presented by Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon, immigration could worsen the labour shortage in Quebec.
“According to economists, an increase in immigration will not solve the labour shortage and could even make things worse. There's also a lack of housing. We need to create more homes and that takes workers.”
The Parti Québécois wants half of the 35,000 immigrants that Quebec welcomes each year to become permanent residents of the province.
“Only 20% of immigrants choose to remain in the region. It's difficult for businesses and it's not ideal with regard to language. Our goal is to have 50% of the 35,000 immigrants become long-term residents of the region”
French, a language in decline in Quebec
The leader of the Parti Québécois mentioned that he wanted to see more programs similar to the Chamber's "J'apprends le français" francization initiative, which was suspended by the government at the beginning of the pandemic.
“I promise to restart an initiative like that one as soon as possible. The French language is an issue that affects everyone. It is necessary to implement measures that actually rise to this challenge”
He added that Canada's immigration rates would lead to a decline of Quebec demographic weight within the country.
“There are only 2% of us in North America who speak French. If we accept the immigration rate that Canada wants, we're going to fade away. And this is partly coming from contempt."”
No tax cuts to fight inflation
Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon then explained why his party was not suggesting tax cuts to face inflation.
“We are the only party not proposing tax cuts. I am reaching out to all businesses that understand the importance of human capital. Investing in education, access to health care, all that is reflected in our plan for the economy”
Infrastructure needs at the edges of the city's territory
The leader of the PQ highlighted Montréal's central role in Quebec's economic activities.
“I don't like this discourse that sets Montréal apart from the rest of Quebec and pits city against city. Montréal is the economic engine of Quebec.”
Mr. St-Pierre Plamondon also emphasized the importance of developing innovative infrastructure at the ends of the island and of connecting them downtown.
“We need a strong voice to defend the interests of people in eastern and northern Montréal. We need more roads and connections to downtown. If we want to ensure a bright future, we need to make decisions about infrastructure with transportation in mind.”
As a reminder, the Chamber unveiled the priorities of Montréal’s businesses in August.