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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a bilateral meeting with Quebec Premier François Legault in Montreal on March 15.Christinne Muschi/The Canadian Press

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is ruling out Quebec’s request for full control over immigration, but says his government is willing to provide more resources to help the province deal with the impact of the high number of asylum seekers and temporary foreign workers.

Mr. Trudeau and Quebec Premier François Legault met in Montreal Friday, after which both held separate news conferences.

“No, we will not be providing more powers over immigration to Quebec,” Mr. Trudeau told reporters. “Quebec already has more power over immigration than any other province because it’s very important to protect the French language,” he said.

Mr. Trudeau said that Quebec has felt the pressure financially dealing with the high number of asylum seekers and temporary foreign workers, as well as in other areas of provincial operation such as health care and education.

“That’s why we’re here, working for Quebec to make sure we acknowledge what they are doing and try to remove some of that pressure through compensation,” he said.

“We’ll be talking more clearly about numbers at a working meeting.”

Mr. Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec government has called on Ottawa to reimburse the province for the $1-billion it says it has spent in the past three years settling refugee claimants.

After the meeting, Mr. Legault said he isn’t giving up. “I won’t stop asking for all the powers in immigration,” he told reporters.

“Quebec is a nation and when you have 528,000 people coming to Quebec with 30 per cent or more not speaking French, many of them in Montreal, it has an impact, a clear impact.”

To protect Quebec’s language, nation, identity and culture, the province needs full control over immigration, he said.

Mr. Legault said his fellow premiers are grappling with the issues of how newcomers affect housing, health care and education. “But in Quebec, we add language.”

Mr. Trudeau, the Quebec Premier said, agreed to give a strong mandate to “important people working within our teams” to find a solution to key issues that they discussed.

Quebec already controls the number of economic immigrants to the province, but it shares responsibility with Ottawa over refugees and newcomers who arrive through the family-reunification stream.

On Thursday, Mr. Legault told the National Assembly that he would seek to have Quebec take full control of immigration during his meeting with Mr. Trudeau.

In a January letter to Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Legault wrote that the federal government needed to slow the “excessive number” of asylum seekers entering his province given that it was nearing a “breaking point.”

“The situation has become unsustainable,” he wrote.

Mr. Trudeau said Friday that his government has had to deal with the issue of increasing numbers of temporary immigrants in Quebec and elsewhere in recent years.

He noted that his government has acted on international students and asylum seekers, and that there are conversations to be had about temporary foreign workers.

“As we are doing right across Canada, we are very happy to work with the government of Quebec, to recognize that those issues exist and realize that Quebec is doing more than its fair share,” he said.

In Saint John, Pierre Poilievre said Mr. Trudeau had mismanaged the immigration system, and that, if elected prime minister, the Conservative Leader would bring in new policies including blocking illegal immigration.

Those policies, he said, would also discourage false asylum claims and bring legitimate refugees – economic immigrants and family members – to Canada in an orderly way with numbers that line up with the availability of social services and housing.

“We would work with all provinces, including Quebec, to do that,” he said.

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