That, given that,
(i) the Century Initiative aims to increase Canada’s population to 100 million by 2100,
(ii) the federal government’s new intake targets are consistent with the Century Initiative objectives,
(iii) tripling Canada’s population has real impacts on the future of the French language, Quebec’s political weight, the place of First Peoples, access to housing, and health and education infrastructure,
(iv) these impacts were not taken into account in the development of the Century Initiative and that Quebec was not considered,
the House reject the Century Initiative objectives and ask the government not to use them as a basis for developing its future immigration levels.
He said: Mr. Speaker, once upon a time, there was a company called McKinsey and a scheme known as the Century Initiative. I am deeply averse to speaking English in the course of my official duties, but I believe in calling a thing by its right name. An initiative that will sabotage French in Quebec and Canada over the long term cannot be called by a French name or by a name that can even be translated to French. I feel it is only right to continue to use the name Century Initiative when speaking French, not its amorphous French name, “Initiative du Siècle”.
It outlines a vision of an economy serving capitalism, a vision of people's labour serving the economy. The Bloc Québécois, however, thinks it should be the other way around, that the economy should serve the people.
The idea is to increase the population of Canada, should it survive in its present form until then, to 100 million inhabitants by the end of the century. Truth be told, that is rabble-rousing lunacy. It is a delusional vision of the future whose true purpose is more immediate.
They say they want Canada to be a global superpower. What are Canada's greatest resources? They are: brains, institutions and democracy, of course, but also natural resources, such as oil, which some of us are still mulishly dependent on, forestry, ever the poor cousin, mines, which could be Quebec's ticket to leading the transportation electrification charge, a role some would rather see Ontario take on using polluting western Canadian natural gas, and water, which will be on the table sooner or later.
Add to that cheap labour, the labour market imbalance, and the struggle for collective representation that is increasingly coming under fire, the struggle for unions and the labour movement that are so readily demonized. Backed by the NDP, which claims close ties to unions, this pro-scab government rejects the importance of prohibiting strikebreakers, proof positive that it is not a pro-worker government.
I find it hard to understand, moreover, how the labour movement can still identify with a Prime Minister who repeatedly said yesterday that he had spoken to businesses or with an NDP that supports big business against workers. It is like trusting this government to protect jobs in the forestry sector. We have no such trust.
McKinsey has a terrible reputation in human resources. One does not have to get to the end of the book When McKinsey Comes to Town to realize that the same story keeps repeating itself. We see the same manoeuvres: breaking workers, degrading working conditions.
The Century Initiative is a vision that has blindly, or complacently, been adopted by Ottawa with, moreover, an outsourcing of certain immigration services. Ottawa either has a hostile bias or is indifferent to a normal Quebec desire to make, at least in some respects, its own way in Canada, or not.
Mr. Barton acknowledged in committee, in response to a question I put to him, that he had not considered Quebec at all in the development of the Century Initiative. For them, passively or actively, Quebec was simply a community created by earlier immigration and it had to fit in the anglicized mosaic of Canada.
At least Mr. Barton admitted in his testimony that they were making recommendations and that the Prime Minister was the one responsible for deciding on the implementation of a policy whose known effect—which we can assume was at least partly intended—was a direct threat to the continued existence of a Quebec people.
There are many benefits to immigration. Are labour issues part of that? Certainly, subject to how we treat people who choose to come to make their life in Canada or in Quebec. Is it the solution to the labour shortage? It is certainly one of the possible solutions, but it is not the solution. Here again, it falls under the slogan that a former colleague called the kinglets of chambers of commerce.
Immigration comes with humanitarian and intake responsibilities. It comes with the responsibility of an unavoidable fact: With climate change, in which Canada is a central player with its insistence on toxically exploiting hydrocarbons that directly heat the climate, tens of millions of people around the world will need to move. Those are climate migrations. It would be very irresponsible to not welcome at least some of them, but on what terms? That is another part of the debate, but they will have to be welcomed. Accepting responsibility in sharing the weight of the misery inflicted on those who are less fortunate than us is itself fundamental to a sound immigration policy.
There is also the inevitable desire of people to immigrate and make a better life for themselves. That comes with uncertainties. It has been said and repeated. Without protecting a political lever, those who said it were not heard, here in Ottawa.
There will be an enormous impact on the costs of an educational system, which increase much faster than the economic or fiscal contribution of newcomers. The same reasoning applies to a health system that is severely underfunded due to willful ignorance, an ignorance some might argue the Prime Minister cultivates. So there are issues and demands for health transfers.
There will also be pressure on child care services. The housing crisis will not be addressed by welcoming 500,000 people a year in Canada, 110,000 of which would be destined for Quebec. The same is true for income support for these people who are arriving and who are sometimes helpless and, of course, for francization and the development of a sense of belonging to this people, this nation that is welcoming them. There is a risk of different kinds of social problems. There is the issue of the coherence of a cultural body that allows everyone to function within the same society, with a big neighbour trying to ensure its dislocation. There is also the appearance or increase of pockets of poverty for those that the system will be unable to integrate harmoniously and the appearance of cultural-linguistic ghettos of people who will not integrate and for whom it will quickly become too late, because the correct action was not taken or action was not taken at the right time or, in Ottawa's case, action was not taken with the right intention.
There is also the issue of the indigenous peoples. I cannot speak for them, but the numbers speak for themselves. The natural growth of the indigenous populations cannot keep up with the immigration of 500,000 people per year, which, hypothetically, would mean 100 million people in Canada by the end of the year. This great scam requires associating, integrating and amalgamating first nations as if they were immigrant populations. In the eyes of the first nations, I am an immigrant. We are the immigrants. Unlike this potentially infinite influx of people who are welcomed through immigration, no one can immigrate and say they are indigenous. One is indigenous or one is not. A person is born indigenous or is not born indigenous.
There is a threat strictly in terms of demographic weight. Maybe this is an opportunity for the first peoples to realize that Ottawa is not working for them.
There is a risk, as a nation, of losing part of our soul, most of our weight, and of failing to bring forward a different and unique culture in which and to which the contribution of immigrant communities is essential; it transforms who we are. Do we want to say in a very healthy way that we have a common language, that we have common values, that all equalities are eminently valid, that the state, to be progressive, must be secular? These are fundamental elements that define us. Besides that, there will always be a cultural and artistic contribution that enriches us, as long as it is done harmoniously. We must not fail.
We therefore have three choices. The first is to shrug our shoulders, increase immigration levels and lose our language. The second would be to obtain a guaranteed percentage of seats in the House, which we were refused outright. The government knew very well what they were doing. They knew very well that, by refusing a predetermined percentage of seats for Quebec and by implementing an immigration policy involving an extremely large number, they were condemning Quebec to being reduced and diminished within the federation.
However, there is a third way: The appropriation of all attributes of sovereignty for the Quebec people. Sovereignty is not a fictional intellectual concept or a bargain-basement anglophone bogeyman. It is the normal appropriation of all the means we have to choose, even if some are then freely and consensually shared.
Let us not fool ourselves, the NDP and the Conservatives agree with this idea of 100 million Canadians and 500,000 immigrants per year. Maybe the means could be debated? Maybe this issue could be reviewed? Maybe there is an opening, particularly among the Conservatives, that I would welcome with great enthusiasm? However, care must be taken to not create consensus that will isolate Quebec. I will come back to that.
There is a concept that exists in the intelligence community, that of useful idiots. That is the second English term in my speech. When someone, without realizing it, serves the interests of someone else, such as systematically supporting policies that benefit big money and disadvantage Quebec, while imagining that they are doing good, they may be a useful idiot. They are people who do not realize that, if they conducted themselves differently, Canada and Quebec would be better off.
Immigration is not simply good or bad. We need to make sure that integration is effective and that the people who choose us have the tools they need for a new successful life. First, there is language and then adjusting to employment, where language is the primary factor. There is also the recognition of diplomas and full training or supplementary training for a diploma to be recognized. There are many issues.
Is immigration really a numbers issue? I would say that anything is possible. I have always been very resistant to debates about numbers. A number like 110,000 looks high for Quebec, anyway. I would say that if Quebec chose to increase the number of immigrants it receives, the levels should be increased gradually. We would need tools to measure the success of everything put in place to promote sound and successful integration. There needs to be a common melting pot of a changing national culture.
We are told that sovereignty would change nothing. That is also what I heard yesterday on television. In fact, sovereignty would allow for clear integration policies, a clear message about places where people would arrive and full political weight to make decisions on our soil. Above all, sovereignty would end Ottawa's usual practice of undoing what Quebec has done through heavy-handed legislation, gobs of money and court decisions.
Because of the fiscal imbalance, and according to the government’s own figures, in 30 to 40 years the total debt of the federal government would be eliminated, while at the same time, according to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, most provinces would technically be bankrupt. This is known as the fiscal imbalance. This is essentially Ottawa grabbing fiscal resources that it does not need at the expense of the provinces and Quebec, which do not have what they need. This is how to dismantle the provinces and the Quebec nation.
The naive, high up in their ivory tower in Toronto, believe that the fiscal imbalance, the Supreme Court biases, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms—designed against the Quebec nation—and the activism that replaces collective rights with individual privileges will save Canada. God Save The King. Some of these naive people are francophones from Quebec, but I am not looking at anyone. They are wrong. Quebeckers are patient, generous and welcoming, but there are many who realize that the immigration policy advised by McKinsey, which is laughing all the way to the bank, threatens the very existence of the Quebec people. They will want to act.
Sooner or later, this will be known as Quebec’s sovereignty. In the meantime, someone here has to stand up and denounce this vision that is harming Quebec, and that someone is the Bloc Québécois. We will not wait long. We will get ourselves a country.