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Quebec party leaders continue immigration attacks after English-language debate

Last Updated Sep 18, 2018 at 3:01 pm EDT

Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard, right, PQ Leader Jean-Francois Lisee and CAQ Leader Francois Legault arrive for the photo session before their English debate Monday, September 17, 2018 in Montreal, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

MONTREAL – Quebec’s party leaders continue to spar over the election issue of immigration following Monday night’s English-language debate.

Their attacks come as a new poll released today indicates the Liberals and the Coalition Avenir Quebec are in a statistical tie for first place after the latter had been leading most surveys for months.

Coalition Leader Francois Legault accused Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard of campaigning on fear by targeting his party’s promise to expel immigrants from the province who fail to pass a French and values test.

Couillard said in a radio interview Legault’s immigration policies are just as bad as the Parti Quebecois’ ill-fated secularism charter that divided society prior to the 2014 election.

Earlier this morning, Quebec’s statistical bureau released a study indicating immigrants are integrating well into the job market, undercutting campaign rhetoric suggesting newcomers are failing to find work.

The study reveals the unemployment rate for immigrants has declined dramatically since January, from 8.1 per cent to six per cent, and that 84 per cent of newcomers who arrived in Quebec in 2010 were still in the province by 2015.