Business, community leaders express concern over CAQ's immigration stance

A day after the CAQ's historic election win, business and community leaders are already holding the premier-designate's feet to the fire over his immigration policies.

"We are not going to tolerate any deportation based on a test," said Luis Miguel Christancho, Director of Bienvenue NDG, in an interview with CJAD 800's Leslie Roberts.

He says he is worried about an immigration system that is based on testing for language and values. 

"Having tests doesn't solve anything," he said. "What is the test that is going to be in place? How are you going to test values? And to whom?

"The only solution that we see is really help people learn French in the work environment," he said.

Throughout the campaign, better integration was one of Legault's central justifications for his plan to reduce the number of immigrants the province will admit each year; a plan that isn't sitting right with Montreal business leaders.

"Any thought of reducing the number of immigrants will create more tension on the labour market," said Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Montreal Board of Trade.

He says Quebec businesses need more workers, not less.

"If it's one or two years it's not a big issue," he said in an interview with CJAD 800 News. "If it was to become permanent, and if it was to send a signal that we are not that open to immigrants, then it would create harm."

Leblanc says he received assurances from Legault during the campaign that the policy would be short term. 

"When he mentioned that he would reduce the numbers, very quickly he mentioned that this would be likely very temporary," Leblanc said.

He says he believes Legault will increase the number of immigrants to their normal rate once the province's integration system is revamped.

"We are concerned about integration of new comers here in Quebec," said Christancho, whose organization helps settle new immigrants in the west end of Montreal. "The problem is how are we going to bring solutions to this issue?"