Jean-François Lisée proposes guidelines for new immigrants

Quebec's current system of multiculturalism enough on the efforts immigrants should make when they arrive, the ​Parti Québécois leadership candidate says.

Policy would focus on French language, Quebec culture, secularism, equality between men and women

Jean-François Lisée has entered the Parti Québécois leadership race to replace Pierre Karl Péladeau. (Canadian Press)

​Parti Québécois leadership candidate Jean-François Lisée is proposing changes to the way new immigrants are integrated into Quebec society.

Lisée said the current system of multiculturalism doesn't focus enough on the efforts immigrants should make when they arrive.

He suggests a new policy that wouldn't impose new constraints but instead provide guidelines for the integration of new immigrants.

"We say 'this is us,' but this isn't just us, the francophone majority — it's us together," Lisée told Radio-Canada.

"We want, if you're a part of us and live here, for you to be in line with that."

Lisée referred to the proposal in French as "concordance culturelle," which roughly translates as "cultural alignment."

The new policy would set conditions for immigrants to accept the French language, Quebec culture and history, equality between men and women and secularism.

It would also focus on aid, dialogue, the search for social justice and engagement in democracy.

Yolande James, CBC Montreal's political analyst, said Lisée's proposal is meant to address concerns about new immigrants. 

"It all depends on how he executes this but the message is clear: who is he speaking to when he releases this idea today?" she said on Daybreak.

"He's speaking to the francophone community, a lot of people in the regions who are concerned."

'We don't want to meet halfway'

Lisée says that newcomers would know very well that they have the responsibility to integrate and adapt to Quebec society if there are conditions in place.

"We don't want to meet halfway," Lisée said.

"Equality between men and women is a very good example. I don't want to meet halfway with people who believe women aren't equal to men. I want them to go the whole way."

Lisée wants to see the principles integrated in a Quebec constitution, drawn up by a committee.

Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Hugo Lavallée