OPINION: Immigration front and centre in the next provincial election

For the first time in a generation, it looks like the issue of separation won't be front and centre in the next provincial election, now less than five months away. Instead, get ready for immigration to take centre stage.

Details revealed in an an article in l'Actualité magazine - details NOT being denied by the CAQ, - expose an immigration plan that would require newcomers here to, pass a "values" test, designed to prove their respect for diversity, democracy and secular government, among other values the CAQ considers core to Quebec identity. Fail the test, and you'll be expelled.

But wait, there's more. The CAQ’s plan would only grant Immigrants a temporary permit for three years, by which time they would have to pass that values test AND a language test AND prove they had either found work or were actively looking for it, before being allowed to apply for Canadian citizenship. If you fail to satisfy those conditions inside that three year window, and it would then be up to the federal government, according to the CAQ's plan, to either relocate or expel those immigrants from Quebec. As if.

It seems to me that the CAQ’s immigration plan is essentially just the PQ's former Charter of Values 2.0, a plan that many people still believe was the reason the PQ lost the last election. Others though, believe that to be the great myth of the last election, because polls showed the Charter of Values was, in fact, very popular in Quebec. Maybe it was the PKP fist pump, or Pauline Marois' off the cuff remarks about establishing a Quebec army and currency that scared off voters when it came time to cast a ballot.

As the CAQ rides a recent wave of positive poll results, their stance on immigration is, as the charter of values was, likely to be very popular in the regions, where immigrants are as scarce as English signs. I wonder how many Quebecers will take the time to ask themselves how justified it is to ask people to pass an arbitrary values test before being allowed to settle here. And who will judge that test and decide which answers are right or wrong? And what about people who immigrated here five years or 10 years ago? Should they be forced to take it, too? Or maybe we should all be forced to take a values test - you know, just to make sure we’re all thinking the same way? After all, we wouldn’t want to encourage any independent thinkers out there, would we? They surely don't deserve to live in Quebec...