Tuesday, July 28, 2009
One of the possible negative effects from the sudden visa restrictions on citizens of Mexico and the Czech Republic is the ammunition it could give the Bloc Quebecois when making the case for an independent Quebec in the upcoming election, since in their current state Quebec has no choice but to go along with the visa rules Ottawa has put in place. The Jean Charest government has protested the new visa rules, as can be seen here in French from Radio Canada. Note at the end that the PQ has already criticized the move so the Quebec government's move here may be in response to that. Here's the gist of the article.
In a letter obtained by The Canadian Presse, the Charest government is opposed to Ottawa's decision to impose visa restrictions on Mexican and Czech visitors.
Addressed to the federal Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, it shows Quebec's discontent with the new rules. The letter was signed by the ministers Yolande James of Immigration, Pierre Arcand of International Relations, Nicole Ménard of Tourism, and Claude Béchard of Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs.
The ministers there note that about 35% of asylum seekers make their way to Quebec. They stress that the imposition of visas will have negative effects on tourism, as well as complicating entry to Canada by business people and Mexican investors. It will "create malaise in political relations with this partner in NAFTA".
In reference to tourism, the Quebec ministers argue that "the reintroduction of obligatory visas, especially in the full summer season, will certainly have a demotivating effect" on Mexican tourists. They are of the opinion that not having to obtain a visa helped facilitate the arrival of business people and Mexican investors.
Last week, PQ member Louise Beaudoin criticized Quebec's silence on the issue.
You can see Louise Beaudoin's statement from last week here. Part of that:
"Ottawa has made this decision unilaterally without any consultation with the government of Quebec, a decision with profound effects on the relationship between Quebec and Mexico. Beyond the negative impact on our tourism industry, it's also Quebec's image that is greatly affected in those two countries, especially Mexico, by the decision made by Canada. Why is the Quebec government silent on this issue?"
The federal government argued that the significant growth of refugee volume from those two countries is the reason for this serious measure restricting the movement of people...
(her response to that point):
"Was there really a danger in delay? The latest data indicate the opposite for Quebec. In 2008, Quebec barely received 4520 refugees in all regions, 24% less than in 2007. That's far from a movement of refugees among us."