3 arrested at Montreal immigration hearings
Police arrested three protesters on Tuesday night who were attempting to disrupt Quebec's public hearings in Montreal on the reasonable accommodation of minorities.
The demonstrators, who accuse the Bouchard-Taylor hearings of being "racist," tried for close to two hours to interrupt the debates before police were called to intervene.
Along with the protesters, a police officer is reportedly facing assault charges in connection with the melee.
During the hearings, several immigrants complained of having difficulty finding work after coming to Quebec despite holding professional credentials and being fluent in French.
"I slaved for a long time before finding work," said Mehdi Rholan, a Morrocan immigrant who studied engineering in France before moving to Montreal in 2001.
It took him three years to get work in his field, he told the commission.
Other speakers shared their experience of being forced to take menial labour work in spite of having professional training.
"I lost almost two years of my life," said Lotfi Dahmane, an Algerianwith adiploma in computer programming and transport logistics, who ended up working at a Value Village warehouse for lack of better opportunities.
"I've never gone on welfare, because for me, it would be shameful to come here and accept social assistance," he said.
Immigrants need to be integrated economically, not just socially, Dahmane said.
The Bouchard-Taylor commission hearings continue at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal on Wednesday.
The commission exploring cultural and religious accommodation was established last winter by the Quebec government to calm what was becoming an embittered debate about immigration.
With files from the Canadian Press