Legault vs. Trudeau: The blame game over Quebec's housing crisis

Quebec Premier François Legault asserts province's housing crisis is entirely due to temporary immigrants, but people on the streets of Montreal seem to disagree.

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Quebec Premier François Legault sparked controversy by attributing the province's housing crisis to the influx of temporary immigrants. He urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to cut the number by half to prevent Quebecers from losing essential services. Legault claims that "100%" of the housing shortage is due to the rise in temporary immigrants, including asylum seekers and illegal border crossers from the United States.

He also attributes a third of labour shortages in health and education to the new arrivals. "The federal government must understand that it is urgent to reduce the number of temporary immigrants in Quebec if we want Quebecers to find housing, for our children to have access to qualified teachers, for our sick to be treated, and for the decline of French to be reversed," stated Legault.

Currently, there are over 560,000 temporary immigrants in Quebec. While accepting Trudeau's agreement to provide $750 million over five years for costs associated with asylum seeker, Legault continues to seek $1 billion. Trudeau responded by cautioning against blaming immigrants for the province's challenges, emphasizing the complexity of these issues. "Quebecers and Canadians know very well that it is not always best to target them and say, 'It’s all the fault of immigrants,'" he said.

In reality, the record-high rates of immigrants, temporary workers, foreign students, illegal immigrants, and refugees are straining the entire country's service systems. Quebec, however, is particularly vocal about these issues due to concerns about the decline of French and cultural impacts. The rest of Canada, in contrast, seems more reserved in addressing immigration, despite its significance.

When asked if they believed Legault is right about his statement regarding immigration and the housing crisis, Quebecers generally seemed to disagree.

"I don't think so. Immigrants come here and they work their asses off," one person said. Another remarked, "Legault is trying to win political points." A third man replied, "We can build more houses; Canada is the second largest country in the world."

One resident noted, "There are other factors, it's not the only one. But it's easy to say it comes from there."

When asked if people agree more with Trudeau asserting not to blame immigrants for these issues, someone answered, "I think Trudeau is correct. It has to be complex. It can't just be one thing that causes such a big problem."

A local added, "Maybe the influx of immigrants is part of the problem but likely only a small part of the problem."

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