Quebec election: Minister could remain in cabinet despite comments about immigrants

MONTREAL — Despite his widely denounced comments about immigrants, Quebec Immigration Minister Jean Boulet could keep a seat in cabinet if the Coalition Avenir Québec is re-elected Monday, leader François Legault said Thursday.

Boulet, who is also the province's labour minister, said last week at a candidates debate that most immigrants to Quebec "don't work, don't speak French or don't adhere to the values of Quebec society."

While Legault has said that Boulet's comments disqualify him from remaining immigration minister after the provincial election, he wouldn't rule out moving Boulet to a different portfolio.

"I spoke to Mr. Boulet yesterday and he's so sad about what he said," Legault told reporters in Rouyn-Noranda, Que. "Like I said, he won't be able to be minister of immigration, but still, the guy is a bright guy and he did a good job for the last four years."

Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said Thursday that Boulet should be immediately removed as a cabinet minister, while Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime called for Boulet, who is running in the Trois-Rivières riding, to withdraw his candidacy.

Meanwhile, the Parti Québécois has raised more money since the beginning of Quebec's election campaign than any other party.

Élections Québec said the sovereigntist party raised $354,175 from 3,852 donors between the start of the campaign on Aug. 28 and Sept. 21.

Polls in late August put the PQ in fifth place, with support below 10 per cent.

But the PQ is now polling in the mid-teens and is in a statistical tie with the three other main opposition parties — all far behind the incumbent Coalition Avenir Québec.

Québec solidaire was in second place in fundraising since the beginning of the campaign, having raised $180,305, while the CAQ is in third with $170,548 in donations.

The CAQ has collected the most money since the beginning of 2022, however, having raised almost $1.15 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2022.

Jacob Serebrin, The Canadian Press