From The Gazette

Ile Bizard

Sale of Marois’s home delayed by immigration laws

The sale of Premier Pauline Marois’s estate in Île-Bizard to a European businessman is floating in limbo and could remain so for years to come.

Marois and her husband, Claude Blanchet, accepted an offer of about $6 million from European businessman Patrice Rochemont last year, but the sale of the 12,000-square-foot mansion, called La Closerie, has been blocked because the property includes farmland.

Quebec prohibits the sale of farmland to foreigners unless they have landed immigrant status, also known as permanent residency status.

“It could take as long as three years for the buyer to receive permanent residency status,” immigration lawyer Tony Manglaviti said.

A foreigner with landed immigrant status may apply for permission to buy farmland from the Commission de protection du territoire agricole du Québec. If permission is granted, he must live on the land for at least six months of the year.

La Presse reported last week that La Closerie’s buyer had applied to the commission for permission and it was granted, with the deadline of obtaining landed immigrant status set for February. La Presse reported that the buyer asked for an extension, citing the lengthy process involved in getting landed immigrant status as the reason he could not hit the deadline. The request was granted.

Foreign nationals have purchased farmland in Quebec in the past by establishing a Canadian company and then purchasing the land through that company.

“It’s been a few years now, but I’ve worked with clients from China who have purchased farmland (in Quebec) that way,” real estate broker Louise Remillard said. Remillard is the president of Profusion Realty, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate, and deals with sale of luxury properties.

“I didn’t handle the sale (of La Closerie) and so I don’t know all the details, but I’m a bit puzzled by what happened,” Remillard said. “Everybody knows the rules.”

Manglaviti explained that every applicant for landed immigrant status in Quebec must first obtain a certificat de sélection du Québec and then submit to a security background check and a medical exam. The background check is done for every country the applicant has lived in for at least six months over the past 10 years.

If the applicant is a businessman, he can apply as an immigrant investor, but first he must prove he is worth at least $1.6 million and be willing to invest $800,000 with the provincial government for five years. At the end of five years, he recoups the capital, but the province retains and invests the interest.

A businessman also has the option to prove he is worth $300,000, invest $100,000 and then submit a business plan which would create jobs.

No matter the choice, Manglaviti said the application can get bogged down as it works its way through the system.

“You can’t fast-track things,” Manglaviti said. “The immigration process takes a very long time. Off the top of my head, I can remember an application for marriage coming from Bangladesh that took two years to process.”

2 comments

  1. Why would Claude Blanchet, and Pauline Marois and Celine Dion ..all want to sell their propertys .. befor the election . A clear drop in land values, if Pauline Marois’s was elected !! How far will Pauline Marois’s go to get the sale pass’d through. Do you see Pauline Marois” offereing Patrice Rochemon Quebec citizanship…time will tell , in the mean time welcome to 0groth Quebec

  2. TIME TO UPDATE THE MAROIS STORY ABOUT THEIR FRAUDULENT USE OF AGRICULTURAL LAND APART FROM GIFTS OF MONEY TO LIE TO MAPAQ ABOUT AN EXISTING COTTAGE

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