Few countries in the world can match Canada’s embrace of immigration and the integration of immigrants into our communities. In terms of immigration, the Government of Quebec has always been at the forefront. In 1968, Quebec had a Ministry of Immigration. In 2014, the Minister of Immigration was renamed Diversity and Inclusion (MIDI).
By doing so, the Quebec government was recognising that there is more to immigration than accepting people into the country. It also recognises that diversity and inclusion are two different elements resulting from immigration.
Diversity means that there are people from numerous gender, sexual orientation, language, cultural and religious background, etc. Diversity is a vague notion that ranges from the diversity of genres to the diversity of opinions, passing through the diversity of hopes, colours, interests, tastes and diversity in everything.
Inclusion means that everyone lives and works together and everyone has equal opportunities under the law. When we know that Quebec today has more than 200 religions and 150 languages, inclusion is a real challenge that needs to be properly addressed.
To bring cultural communities back to a simple question of diversity is to deny their specificities and their particular needs and to make integration a mere juxtaposition of disparate ethnic groups and cultures without any real adherence to common values.
It is necessary to address these issues and to prepare society and public institutions to live this pluralism, in harmony. It is necessary to talk about real business, the real challenges of integration, because there are, in our schools, in our hospitals, and in the labour market.
For example, faced with the reality that numerous immigrants are turning to Quebec regions because they are disappointed by job opportunities in Montreal and Quebec City, many politicians are wasting time addressing racism in the workplace and asking people to change, without a specific plan or guidelines. Why not launch an employment equity project for Quebeckers issued of immigration with a specific timetable and objectives, In the short and medium term? These types of concrete actions will do more to protect people from racism, than simply asking people to do better without real guidelines.
I am talking about the province of Quebec, but this issue will appear no matter where immigration and true diversity is encouraged.