Nadine Girault will take over Simon Jolin-Barrette’s immigration portfolio. The move is part of Quebec Premier François Legault’s significant cabinet shuffle on June 22. Nadine Girault, a member of the ruling party in Quebec, who is of Haitian descent and arrived from the United States in Canada, has been named new immigration minister for the province.
Nadine Girault is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Francophone of Quebec too. She replaces Simon Jolin-Barrette who has held this seat since the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party took over office in October 2018
Jolin-Barrette’s bills were controversial not only among opposition parties but among a large portion of the population as well, on secularism as well as the Quebec Experience Program (PEQ).
Last November Jolin-Barrette introduced PEQ rules which reduced the number of students and employees who could be admitted to Quebec at a time when all regions were affected by labor shortages. Attacked from all angles for his reform plan, Jolin-Barrette eventually pulled those changes out so they could be reviewed.
Once again the Quebec government announced new amendments to the PEQ this past May and the plan to introduce two new pilot programs.
In addition to her current duties, Nadine Girault will be responsible for introducing the recently implemented PEQ reforms, launching new pilots and finding paths for health care staff who have sought asylum in Canada to live permanently.
Immigration policy impacts Quebecers, Canadians and non-Canadians and the minister who heads the department is also seen as a representation of the tone and objectives of the government. When this is the case, the hiring of Girault should be seen in a good light.
The fact that the newly named Minister of Immigration has a diverse cultural context and a global outlook, may suggest an attempt by the provincial government of Quebec to shift a discourse that has so far been seen as anti-immigration.
Many think the style of Nadine Girault will be gentler and open to immigrants than her predecessor's.
During the press conference, Nadine Girault pointed out that Quebec's immigration goals were only temporarily reduced in order to facilitate newcomers' integration and francization. On the other hand, Legault, Premier of Quebec emphasized the fact that the economic element will continue to play a significant role in the portfolio at immigration. Quebec's immigration dream and targets will remain the same, he said.
Nadine Girault will also co-chair the Action Group Against Racism, in addition to her duties as Minister of Immigration and International Relations, whose mission is to research the situation of visible minorities in Quebec in a variety of areas of activity and continue to support this initiative.