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Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet Apologized For Saying 80% Of Immigrants Don't Work

This is not his first controversial remark.

MTL Blog, Associate Editor
​Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet.

Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet.

Quebec's immigration minister has backtracked on comments that a majority of immigrants in the province have a poor work ethic and aren't well-integrated into society. At a debate in Mauricie last week, Jean Boulet asserted, "80% of immigrants go to Montreal, do not work, do not speak French or do not adhere to the values of Quebec society." He apologized on Wednesday, following widespread backlash, saying he misrepresented what he actually thinks about immigrants.

"I'm sorry for expressing my thoughts poorly. The circulating clip does not reflect what I think. We must continue to focus on the reception, francization and integration of immigrants, who are an asset to Quebec," Boulet tweeted.

Statistics Canada reports that over 80% of immigrants to the province can speak conversational French, and over 66% use the language more than English in daily interactions.

Quebec Liberal politicians were swift to denounce Boulet's rhetoric.

"What have you been doing since 2018? You are the outgoing immigration minister, your government has even implemented a values test. Tell us about your regionalization record instead of spreading your prejudices," posted Monsef Derraji, a representative for the Nelligan electoral district in Montreal.

Meanwhile, Mayor Valerie Plante called on Boulet to take back his remarks. "Montreal is a welcoming place for immigrants, who contribute to the economic, social and cultural vitality and to the dynamism of French," she tweeted.

Boulet came under similar fire last December after calling for the closure of Roxham Road, which he claimed had become a "sieve" for asylum seekers who were putting Quebecers at risk for COVID-19. He later admitted, "I don't have statistics that these people caused outbreaks."

Premier François Legault announced on Wednesday that, if re-elected, he would replace Boulet as Immigration Minister.

    Sofia Misenheimer
    MTL Blog, Associate Editor
    Sofia Misenheimer is an Associate Editor for MTL Blog focused on gas prices in Montreal and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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