The right-wing anti-mass migration Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) has won a historic majority in Canada’s French-speaking province, promising smaller government and improved border controls.
The party managed to oust the former ruling Liberal Party on Monday winning a majority of seats in Quebec which has been governed by either the centre-left Liberals or the separatist centre-left Parti Québécois for the last five decades, the CBC reports.
The CAQ, led by François Legault who was a former member of the Parti Québécois and formed the CAQ in 2011, campaigned on a mix of a traditional conservative platforms that included promises to reduce the size of the provincial government, as well as more populist policies on the topic of immigration.
In May, the party promised a “values test” for newly arrived immigrants along with a three-year deadline for migrants to pass the test and show proficiency in the French language.
“We do not want to keep too many people who do not accept our language, our values and to participate in the workforce,” Legault said.
“If the person does not want to learn French, they will not have their selection certificate, so they will never be a citizen. They become a person without status and it’s up to the federal government to decide what to do with that person,” he added.
The new government has promised to reduce immigration numbers overall by 20 percent but will likely require concessions with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal government to implement such reforms.
Justin Trudeau Approval Rating Now Below President Trump as Right Wing Parties Surge In Canada https://t.co/KT9620X9md
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The party has also been one of the strongest in Canada in opposition to the full-face Islamic veils known as the burqa and the niqab, with the CAQ’s spokeswoman Nathalie Roy writing: “And although we will not ban them, we are not afraid to say it: We remain totally against the niqab, chador and burqa. We must send a clear message we do not like the idea of these symbols of the oppression of women.”
As part of that policy, the party intends to introduce a secular charter that would ban the wearing of religious symbols like the niqab or the hijab for school teachers, police officers, and any other profession that employs state authority and power.
The election of the CAQ follows that of populist-conservative Doug Ford in Canada’s most populous province of Ontario earlier this year. Ford, who also defeated a provincial Liberal Party in a landslide victory, ran on a Trump-like platform railing against the political elites of the province.
The two election results in Canada’s largest provinces bode badly for Prime Minister Trudeau who has seen a massive drop in the polls following a series of gaffes and scandals including spending billions of taxpayer dollars on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project that was eventually halted by a court in August.