Quebec minister’s Tinder reference demeans immigration
The other day, Quebec’s youthful new immigration minister, Simon Jolin-Barrette, compared the province’s revamped immigration system to the popular dating app Tinder.
I use the term “dating” lightly here, given Tinder is best-known for facilitating casual hookups.
I’d like to think that comparing immigration to a notoriously cut-throat dating app was a rookie gaffe by the 32-year-old rising star of the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), the party that took power for the first time in last fall’s general provincial election.
But given his ministry’s announcement that same day that it was moving to throw out 18,000 pending applications to Quebec’s Skilled Worker Program — some that have been waiting years for a decision — it’s difficult not see the Tinder comparison as a product of an outlook that is hard-hearted and shockingly out of touch with the human side of immigration.
For starters, there’s nothing casual about immigrating for those foreign nationals who are hoping to make Quebec their new home.
The decision to leave everything and everyone they know to take a chance on a new country and a new society is a major, life-altering choice.
The economic and social rewards of immigrating are often balanced by profound sacrifices that most of us born here will never know.
Furthermore, comparing Quebec’s immigration system to Tinder — with its swipe-left/swipe-right approach to selection — makes it an especially surprising choice of simile for the immigration minister of a province facing Canada’s worst shortage of workers.
Quebec isn’t exactly in the kind of position that affords such a casual view of skilled foreign workers, who it needs to keep the province’s booming economy on the rails.
Employers around Quebec are desperate for labour and need solutions that are rooted in long-term sustainability, which Tinder isn’t exactly known for providing.
The CAQ government, however, insists its approach to immigration is focused on long-term retention.
If this is what is achieved, then maybe we can chalk up the Tinder comment to a poorly chosen reference by a novice minister.
Then again, the CAQ doesn’t seem too troubled by the fact it isn’t exactly winning hearts and minds with its approach to immigration.
Like Tinder, the CAQ isn’t big on the human side of the equation — just the end result.
And that, to me, is no way to run an immigration system.