07/14/2015 05:48 EDT | Updated 07/14/2016 05:59 EDT

More English needed in Quebec's Eastern Townships, MNA says

An MNA in Quebec's Eastern Townships says the province needs to attract more native English speakers in order to strengthen Quebec's economy.

On Tuesday, Orford MNA Pierre Reid asked Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages to help him persuade the provincial government to make a push in attracting more anglophone immigrants.

According to Reid, Quebec's more rural areas are in need of a young, talented work force from other Canadian provinces and English-speaking countries.

"We need employees with a lot of competence that we don't always find," Reid said at a symposium, while addressing Graham Fraser, Canada's Commissioner of Official Languages.

Reid said it was during the Canada Games, held in Sherbrooke two years ago, that he saw the potential of attracting young English speakers to Quebec.

"We realized how many Canadians from all over Canada speak rather good in French, and they discovered Quebec — how Quebec is interesting."

Reid said that in order to move here, English-speaking immigrants from outside Canada and Quebec would need to know that their children would be able to attend quality English schools.

Fraser agreed, adding that many Quebec employers say a lack of bilingualism among their workforce is their biggest problem.

He said the Quebec government should be doing more to welcome and celebrate English communities in the province, and recognize the achievements of anglophones in Quebec.

Fraser also added that the federal government has committed to researching immigration data in English-speaking Quebec.

"My recommendation is that they target that research in a way that takes into account the needs of the English-speaking minority," Fraser said, adding that governments need to get away from the idea that English in Quebec belongs only in Montreal.