Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dumont's Funny Speculations on Immigration

With so much immigrants coming in Montreal, the possibilities to have ghettos are very big. Mario Dumont's own definition of a ghetto is almost a caricature. In fact, any given Montrealers have met at least one person living in a ghetto who knows how to speak French and/or English.


A couple of days ago, Mario Dumont, the leader of the Action Démocratique du Québec (ADQ), said in an interview that Quebec must keep welcoming immigrants, as opposed to what Jean Charest, the leader of the Parti Libéral du Québec (PLQ), has tried to make us believe on Dumont (i.e. accusations of racism). While the PLQ believes that the annual immigration quota should reach at most 60,000, Dumont affirmed that welcoming at most 45,000 immigrants is enough.

Indeed, Mario Dumont believes that the government of Quebec must maintain its current annual immigration quota in order to trust "our capacity of integration" and to avoid the creation of ghettos (things that don't exist in Quebec, according to him). On what kind of information Mario Dumont relies on to say that there's no such thing as a ghetto in Quebec and that "our capacity of integration" is solid?

Mario Dumont clearly said that Jean Charest once cut funds for governmental programs meant to teach French to immigrants. This is so true. However, while talking about immigration, Mario Dumont, just like most French Quebeckers, is just a dreamer who doesn't see Quebec's incapacity to blend immigrants into our mainstream culture.

Statistically speaking, this is what people don't want to say: it's not Quebec, as a province, that welcomes immigrants, but rather the city of Montreal that mainly does it. According to Quebec's Ministry of Immigration, last year, 44,686 newcomers were welcomed. Among them, 32,755 people came to live in Montreal, which means 73.3% of immigrants welcomed in Quebec.

Besides, Laval and the Greater Region of Quebec City follow with respectively 4.5% and 3.9%. With so much immigrants coming in Montreal, the possibilities to have ghettos are very big. Mario Dumont's own definition of a ghetto is almost a caricature. In fact, any given Montrealers have met at least one person living in a ghetto who knows how to speak French and/or English.

For instance, if you live in Montreal, you'll know that in the East of the district of St-Laurent (right by the Montpellier train station), most of its inhabitants are people of Arabic heritage (mostly people born in Lebanon) and they're very easy to recognize because of their accent. Secondly, in the West of this district, there's also a neighbourhood (not too far from the Lauren Hill Academy Junior Campus) mostly inhabited by secular-minded Jews along with a few Orthodox Jews.

There are also many Jews in the district of Côte St-Luc and many Orthodox Jews live in some parts of the district of Outremont. You can also add to that the plethora of people of Haitian heritage who mostly live in North Montreal and St-Michel. Obviously, think about the fact that most people of Italian heritage live in the St-Leonard district. I can also think about the impressive number of people of Greek heritage who live in the district of Parc-Extension.

Whether we like to hear it or not, there are some ghettos in Montreal.

Moreover, Mario Dumont displayed an incredible ignorance by saying that Quebec has avoided the creation of ghettos in its history. Really funny! Did you know that the first ghetto ever created in Montreal is the Chinatown? In fact, its creation (in the beginning of the 20th century) was the result of the Anglo-Saxons' and French Canadians' refusal to live with "Chinks" or "Chink Tok" (as it is pejoratively said in French to designate Chinese people). Still, this shameful episode in Quebec's history belongs to another epoch...

In conclusion, to go back to the main subject of this text, the question that we should all ask ourselves - especially French Quebeckers themselves - is why does the city of Montreal receive the bulk of Quebec's immigrants? As far as we know, the economic development of Quebec is not single-handedly concentrated in Montreal. I'm not saying that immigrants don't have the right to come in Montreal; the other administrative regions need immigrants.

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