Beyond the Usual Suspects and Towards Politicisation: Immigration in Quebec’s Party Manifestos, 1991–2018

Xhardez, Catherine Paquet, Mireille

Résumé (en anglais)

Immigration is increasingly politicised: issues surrounding immigration are more salient and party immigration positions are becoming more polarised. Literature on this topic has overwhelmingly focused on Europe and the USA, while identifying radical right parties and particular social dynamics as the main drivers of politicisation. In this paper, we consider a case that exhibits growing politicisation, yet does not fit existing measures and explanation of this phenomenon: Quebec, Canada. Considering party manifestos between 1991 and 2018, we ask: how have Quebec major political parties treated immigration policy issues over time? We argue that Quebec’s immigration partisan space is organised by a liberal-restrictive immigration policy continuum and a jurisdictional axis. Mapping provincial political parties’ positions, we document a stable clustering towards liberal policy positions but a clear cleavage on the jurisdictional axis. We show that the emergence in 2012 of a highly moderate centre right party—the Coalition Avenir Québec—broke with these established positions and drove a politicisation of the issue. These results demonstrate the importance of considering alternative drivers to explain the politicisation of immigration, as well as of paying attention to the politics of immigration in contexts where pro-immigration discourses dominate.


Xhardez, C., Paquet, M. (2020). Beyond the Usual Suspects and Towards Politicisation: Immigration in Quebec’s Party Manifestos, 1991–2018. Int. Migration & Integration. doi.org/10.1007/s12134-020-00764-3 

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