Quebecers content with current immigration levels, Vote Compass data suggests
Anglos, francos divided on issue of Quebec values test and compulsory French for immigrants
Almost 70 per cent of people responding to the online tool Vote Compass are happy with the number of new immigrants coming to the province or would welcome more.
To the question, "How many new immigrants should Quebec admit?" 37 per cent responded "about the same as now." A total of 22 per cent said the province should admit "somewhat more."
"We have had, generally in Quebec, an overall positive consensus towards immigration," said Mirielle Paquet, a political science professor at Concordia University, who specializes in the politics of immigration.
"From what I can hear in this campaign, voters are fine and parties want to support that, with some tweaks in programs and policies obviously, but keep the course of what's been going on in the last 15 years."
The Liberal party has endorsed a plan to welcome between 49,000 and 53,000 new immigrants in 2018. Meanwhile, the Coalition Avenir Québec wants to temporarily reduce the number of immigrants Quebec accepts annually from 50,000 to 40,000.
The data is based on 77,698 people's responses on Vote Compass, between Aug. 24 and 30.
Respondents to the tool are not pre-selected but the data are a non-random sample from the population and have been weighted in order to approximate a representative sample.
Quebec values test important
If the CAQ were to form the government on Oct. 1, its leader François Legault has said that new immigrants would have to pass a Quebec "values test" within three years of their arrival.
The majority of respondents agree with that idea, with 31 per cent saying they somewhat agree and 23 per cent strongly agreeing.
The same holds true for making sure immigrants are proficient in French, another promise Legault says he'll keep.
Answering the statement "Speaking French should be a requirement for anyone immigrating to Quebec," 64 per cent somewhat or strongly agree.
The Liberals have said they would invest $25 million over the next four years to provide French lessons for immigrants and to help them integrate into rural communities.
English voters at odds with French
A difference in responses comes when the answers are divided by the respondents' mother tongues.
The majority of those who responded in English oppose the propositions of a Quebec value test and French language test for immigrants.
Combining those who strongly disagree and those who somewhat disagree, 58 per cent of respondents who answered in English do not agree with the CAQ.
According to the research from Vote Compass, there was not a big difference in answers between the sexes.