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August 20, 2019

The Nationalism We Have Been Looking For


Open letter

During his opening remarks last week, the Premier solemnly promised Quebecers he would focus on “a unifying nationalism”. A nationalism that would also clearly include an economic aspect, as he kept chanting: “Education, economy, health. These are our three main priorities”.

Yet, a question remains: which economic nationalism is he talking about? For some, it is an ideology, for others, a flagship for proudly unfurling one’s allegiance to a Quebec nation that defends their values, culture and francophone identity. If there was ever a notion that warranted our further consideration, this is it!

But what pride has Mr. Legault left us following the public consultation on the 2020–2022 Immigration Plan? For four days stakeholders filed in one after the other to express their disappointment with an obstinate government that works relentlessly to deprive Quebec society of the human capital it needs.

 

Representatives from the business world consistently alerted us to the desperate need for workers and the community sector assured us that with available resources we could ensure successful integration. “For pity’s sake, increase the threshold,” was repeated over and over again last week!

So, who is paying attention to Emploi-Québec when they announce that by 2030, 1.4 million jobs will be vacant? Who is concerned about the 82% of manufacturing companies that are experiencing recruiting difficulties, or thinking about the aeronautics industry that will post 31,000 available positions over the next decade? Who acknowledges that the IT sector will need 44,000 employees by 2021?

Quebec has all it needs to be economically proud; our finances are healthy and our economy is prospering. Quebec is a world leader in artificial intelligence. We are fortunate to have an international reputation that allows us to attract talent and investments. Our entrepreneurs set out to conquer new markets in the four corners of the globe. What an honour it is to see them go forth as proud ambassadors of Quebec and its know-how.

Economic nationalism is not simply confined to retaining head offices in Quebec. Plan and remain one step ahead! Economic nationalism is also about directing our attention to the thousands of SMEs that employ 92% of Quebecers, and providing them with all the tools and ingredients needed to contribute to their economic growth. Economic nationalism also means being willing to work and communicate with everyone that is able to support the government’s action for economic growth and development.

 

Striving to pull the rug out from under our businesses isn’t economic nationalism! Mr. Legault is intent on depriving them of the sorely lacking human capital for purely ideological reasons. And what’s more, he blames them for being the architects of their own misfortunes, as all they really need to do in order to fulfill their workforce needs is increase the salaries they offer. Coming from a former entrepreneur himself, it’s astounding, fully coherent logic to be sure…. Well, if that’s the kind of economic nationalism the CAQ is offering, thanks but no thanks!

Monsef Derraji
MNA representing Nelligan and Liberal Critic for SMEs, Innovation and Immigration