Quebec premier threatens ‘referendum’ on immigration if Trudeau fails to deliver

Quebec Premier François Legault is ratcheting up pressure on the federal government to reduce the number of temporary immigrants in the province, threatening to hold a “referendum” on the issue.

Legault told reporters today that launching a plebiscite isn’t in his government’s short-term plans, but he suggested that could change if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doesn’t deliver on Quebec’s demands.

The premier says the 560,000 temporary immigrants in Quebec are straining social services and putting the French language at risk — and he says the vast majority of Quebecers agree with him.

Legault says Quebec’s leverage in negotiations is to get the “support” of the population, adding that whether he will hold a referendum on the issue depends on whether Trudeau gives the province more powers over immigration.

After a meeting with Trudeau in mid-March, Legault said the prime minister was open to giving Quebec more power, including by requiring temporary foreign workers to be approved by the province before they can move there.

Legault says Trudeau “promised” him another meeting by June 30 and that he is “waiting for results” from the prime minister.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 9, 2024.

The Canadian Press