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Plan to fight radicalism coming soon: Quebec immigration minister

Friday, 23 January 2015

Quebec’s minister of immigration, diversity and inclusiveness says her government is still mulling over how to confront religious radicalism in the province, but that Quebecers can expect an announcement in the coming week.

Speaking to reporters in Montreal on Thursday morning, Kathleen Weil explained that she is not the only minister in charge of tackling the thorny subject, and that a special committee is continuing its work to come up with a plan.

“As the premier was saying, (the plan to fight radicalism) is a panoply of measures,” Weil said. “I won’t go any further today. There’s a committee working on this, so we’ll let them work and there will be a release next week.”

Premier Philippe Couillard handed Weil (and others, according to the minister) the task of creating a plan to fight religious radicalism, but the Liberals also promised action to affirm the religious neutrality of the state and its employees during the last election campaign. It remains unclear precisely what form that might take and when it may be announced — although Couillard seemed to suggest this week during a trip to Switzerland that it could be as early as June.

Weil, in Montreal to announce a new certificate program for private businesses that make special efforts to hire and integrate newcomers, offered few additional clues.

“The objective today is to underline the importance of integration, the importance of valuing talent, which has nothing to do with questions of neutrality,” she said.

Weil added that she would not comment on a Parti Québécois call to create a special office to monitor religious radicalism in Quebec, explaining that “it’s not my file.”

The new certificate program for businesses unveiled on Thursday — dubbed the Remarkable Employer: Ethnocultural Diversity certification — has already been awarded to two local information-technology companies, Croesus Finansoft and Savoir-faire Linux.

Weil said the program, an expansion of the government’s existing Remarkable Employer certificate, will set businesses apart from their competitors and single them out as being open and welcoming places for qualified immigrants.

“The competition is really ferocious for talent across the globe,” the minister said. “There are more than 230 million people moving around and they’re looking for the best societies in which to implant themselves, to integrate. We need to present ourselves as open and inclusive.”

Montreal Gazette

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