'The housing crisis is not the immigration crisis,' Quebec City mayor says

Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand said immigration is not the sole reason for the province's housing crisis. (Radio-Canada - image credit)

Quebec City Mayor Bruno Marchand doesn't think that the number of temporary immigrants alone is causing the housing crisis — contrary to the province's premier.

In an interview with Radio-Canada Monday, Premier François Legault said Quebec welcomed 270,000 more temporary immigrants than it did two years ago and that if there weren't so many of them, the housing crisis would be over.

"If, tomorrow morning, we didn't double the number of temporary immigrants, we would have 100,000 housing units available. There would be no housing crisis," he said.

Legault defended his views again on Tuesday.

A broader issue

In response to the premier's comments, Marchand said there are many factors that explain the lack of housing.

"The housing crisis is not the immigration crisis," Marchand said, emphasizing that the labour shortage is a widespread issue. "[Immigration] cannot be a solution and a problem. It's a solution. It's an advantage. It helps us build a beautiful city."

"I believe that the housing crisis is much broader than that," he said.

However, the mayor agrees with the premier that the province deserves more money to better welcome non-permanent residents.

"So much the better if there are resources, because there is a lack of resources," he said. "What concerns me is not the number of people we welcome, it's how we welcome them."

He said accessibility of French courses and integration are priorities.

"Welcoming people is not just about giving a carte soleil [medicare card] and winter coats," the mayor said.

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller criticized Legault for making "unfair and unreasonable" statements in attributing "100 per cent" of the housing crisis to temporary immigrants.

Miller said Legault is "inventing his figures, inventing causality."