Home Economy Legault went on to win the Quebec election to the consternation of the business community

Legault went on to win the Quebec election to the consternation of the business community

by SuperiorInvest

The Prime Minister’s views on immigration have created a gulf between him and employers

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Quebec’s provincial election is on Monday, and the five main party leaders vying to lead the next government are François Legault of the nationalist, conservative coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), Dominique Anglade of the left-leaning Quebec Liberal Party, Paul St-Pierre. Plamondon of the sovereign, social democratic Parti Québécois and Eric Duhaime of the right-leaning Conservative Party of Quebec. Here’s what you need to know:

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Forerunners

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Legault’s CAQ leads the polls with 39 percent of the vote, according to to poll aggregator 125Quebec.com. The Liberals are in second place with 16 percent. Legault is expected to capture a second majority government despite a five-week campaign that some experts are calling “catastrophic.”

Recently, Legault told a business audience that the number of immigrants in Quebec would increase suicidal for the province and for the French language, even though Montreal’s business community believes immigrants are essential to solving labor shortages. He too accepted flack for linking immigration to violence and extremism.

Legault had to apologize twice during the campaign to put out fires of his own making. But he also had to put out fires started by other members of his team. For example he reprimanded Immigration Minister Jean Boulet claiming most immigrants who “go to Montreal don’t work and don’t speak French”.

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Despite all that, experts believe Legault is cashing in on the voter sympathy he built up while managing the pandemic.

What Legault promised

The election campaign, which began in late August, was dominated by immigration, health care, the climate and the cost of living.

CAQ has he promised give $600 to Quebecers with an annual income of less than $50,000 by the end of the year and cut the personal income tax rate by one percent. The Liberals also plan to cut the personal income tax rate but raise the tax rate for those earning $300,000 or more.

The CAQ plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 percent below 1990 levels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Liberals’ goal is to cut emissions by 45 percent and end investments in fossil fuels by Quebec’s pension fund manager, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

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The CAQ plans to cut annual immigration to 50,000 from 70,000, while the Liberals plan to maintain the status quo.

In particular, the CAQ seeks to tighten laws controlling the French language, especially for immigrants who would receive all their government documents in French six months after arrival. The Liberals plan to overhaul language laws and eliminate the six-month rule for immigrants.

A problem for the business world

Legault, co-founder of vacation airline Transat AT Inc., was previously considered business-friendly. But his views on immigration have created a rift between him and Montreal’s business community.

Michel Leblanc, President Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montrealhe said reducing immigration would only make it harder for Montreal to compete with Toronto for talented workers.

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“We need new bodies, new brains, new hands,” he said.

Karl Blackburn, head of the Conseil du Patronat du Québec, the province’s largest business lobby, agreed that the situation was serious. He he likened the current labor shortage for “fishing in an empty lake”.

The business community is unlikely to get what it wants. 125Quebec.com gives Legault with a 99 percent chance of winning, winning 92 seats, with the Liberals trailing by a wide margin on 21.

• By e-mail: mcoulton@postmedia.com | Twitter:

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