Jacques Boissinot Archives The Canadian Press Uprooting young people without status from Quebec would be “dramatic” for them, but also for Quebec, argued the MP for Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, who worked as a lawyer in immigration.
Québec solidaire is demanding “rapid action” from the Legault government to regularize thousands of young people and their parents who currently have a precarious status, some of whom are threatened with imminent deportation. To give weight to his request, party representatives invited young people without status to the National Assembly who spoke in French of their desire to stay in Quebec.
Uprooting these young people from Quebec would be “dramatic” for them, but also for Quebec, argued Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne MP Guillaume Cliche-Rivard, who worked as an immigration lawyer. The QS co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, wanted to go beyond “statistics and figures” too often put forward, according to him, by the CAQ government during the debates on immigration. “We want to show you faces, tell you human stories,” he said. These young people are living proof that integration into Quebec can work. Just try for real, just make it a real social project.
According to him, Quebec has a “duty” not to let them down. “That's what I'm asking the Legault government. Let them stay. »
Three young people braved the horde of journalists and dared to take the microphone. Shivani Sachdeva, 20, explained that she was an assistant manager at a Couche-Tard and wanted to become an accountant. “I think with this experience, I will open my business,” she said.
Harshpreet Singh, a 2nd grade student from École Lucien-Pagé who arrived in 2018 with his family, spoke in very good French of his wish to continue his studies here. “My favorite subjects are math and science, I would like to become a mechanical engineer,” he said. “I had difficulty understanding French, but it took me a while and eventually I learned to read and write. »
Le Devoirwas able to speak a little longer with Jaskamal, a student of Indian origin in Secondary 3 at Lucien-Pagé secondary school. For him, everything would be fine in the best of worlds if he and his parents had not become non-status since their asylum application, made in 2017, was rejected. Returning to Punjab, where some farmers, like his parents, may be at risk due to ongoing conflict, was not an option.
Since then, Jaskamal Singh has hardly seen the future with confidence. “It's hard not to have status. I can't go to CEGEP,” the 16-year-old student drops out. The young man who dreams of becoming a police officer fears having to return to Punjab, six years after having integrated well into Quebec society. “I don't know how to speak and write Punjabi well,” he said. “I'm not going to be accepted. »
What would permanent resident status, which could be granted on humanitarian grounds, change? “Our lives would no longer be in danger,” he replied, still referring to the fear of returning to his country. “My parents can't work somewhere like that. They can't buy a house, a car. »
Quebec has a role to play, says QS
During his campaign to be elected in Saint-Henri–Sainte-Anne, Guillaume Cliche-Rivard had made regularization one of his main priorities. It would be a question of regularizing people without status who have been in the country for at least five years, but families with at least one child residing in Quebec would be eligible as soon as it comes into force. “We are talking about 10,000 people for year 1”, reiterated the deputy.
He insisted that such a regularization program is not solely the responsibility of Ottawa. “It is enough for the minister to say so and it could be done,” he argued, recalling that Quebec had “played a central role” in the establishment of the guardian angel program, aimed at regularizing people. with precarious status who worked during the first wave of the pandemic.
“Quebec issued Quebec Selection Certificates and Immigration Canada gave residence according to the CSQ. Essentially the same thing is being asked. […] That Quebec demands that these people, once the CSQ has been issued, receive permanent residence as soon as possible. Quebec has all the legislation and authority to do so. »
As Le Devoir reported during the recent study of budgetary appropriations, the Minister of Immigration, Christine Fréchette, had not closed the door to such a program. , maintaining in the same breath that it was still too early to decide on this question. “It is important for us to know the nature of the orientations [of the federal government]. We want to be consulted on this public policy. »