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Parti Québecois helped push Quebecers to other provinces: Philippe Couillard

12/12/2014 12:36 EST | Updated 02/11/2015 05:59 EST
Premier Philippe Couillard says the former Parti Québecois government is at least partially to blame for the increased number of Quebecers who decided to move to another province last year.

Couillard told CBC’s Daybreak on Friday the political climate, including the controversial values charter and the possibility of another sovereignty referendum, may have pushed some residents to pack their bags.

“I would not put everything on politics, but a large part of that was because of the context that the PQ brought during their fortunately short stay in office,” Couillard told Daybreak host Mike Finnerty.

“Remember, we were in the middle of a very difficult year, when the charter was on the table, very divisive issue in Quebec, and always the possibility of another referendum hanging around. So obviously this added to the uncertainty, and maybe was the last element that decided for some people that it was the time movement.”

Quebec's statistics bureau reported earlier this week that interprovincial migration out of Quebec increased by 50 per cent last year.

Roughly 13,000 more people left Quebec than came to live here in 2013, compared with 8,700 a year earlier, according to the Institut de la statistique Québec. Ontario and Alberta were the biggest draws, with a net loss of 7,100 and 4,700 respectively.

During his year-end interview, Couillard said his government is working to create conditions that will attract more people to Quebec from the rest of Canada and beyond.  

“Our public finances are going to be balanced, our economy is going to pick up, we have encouraging signs around, and we want people not only to stay but come more in Quebec, and again, immigrants are part of what we need to bring in Quebec,” he said.

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