Conservative Party: Malaise, low blows and half-truths

For fans of Rants, the first debate of the Conservative race, which took place on Thursday night, will have been a treat. But whoever scolds says exaggeration and arrogance. The candidates did not hesitate to sometimes twist the truth, evade the facts and engage in gross exaggeration. The newspaper has identified some highlights of the debate in which Pierre Poilievre, Jean Charest, Leslyn Lewis, Scott Aitchison and Roman Barber competed to establish certain facts.

Jean Charest left a surplus of… François Legault?

Jean Charest offered a little lesson in historical revisionism by discussing his tax records as Quebec Premier.

“I believe in fiscal conservatism,” he said. The Liberal Party that succeeded me, Mr. Couillard’s, left François Legault with a surplus of $8 billion. »

Mr Charest’s presentation omits an important fact: Pauline Marois’ PQ government succeeded him for 19 months. François Legault declared a budget surplus of $8 billion in 2018-2019, but Jean Charest has not been in power since 2012.

The new religious fiber by Jean Charest

“Is there anything more important than freedom of religion? I do not think so. »

This claim was not made by the candidate from the party’s religious wing, Leslyn Lewis, but by Jean Charest, who often insisted on his dislike of Quebec’s secularism law. He promises, unlike his rival Pierre Poilievre, to challenge it to the Supreme Court if necessary.

However, his government introduced a bill in 2010 that would require those providing and receiving services to do so with their faces uncovered. This amounted to a ban on full veils, as is the case in several European countries.

CBC = Pravda

Much has been said about the dismantling of the CBC. Some went very hard, like Roman Barber, of Russian descent.

“I was born in the Soviet Union. Then a newspaper called Pravda, meaning “the truth.” I see no difference in funding [de la CBC] by the state,” he says.

Most candidates, with the exception of Jean Charest, sharply criticized the work of the traditional media, calling it leftists in the service of Justin Trudeau’s Liberals.

Captain Fossil

The six candidates presented themselves as pro-fossil fuel advocates who would be able to persuade the spoilsports: “Quebec politicians (who) continue to oppose and block energy projects,” said moderator Candice Malcolm.

“I support oil and gas. I support pipelines. In fact, the last pipeline built in Quebec was built under my government,” claimed Jean Charest.

He was referring to Énergie Valero’s Saint Laurent pipeline, which connects the Jean Gaulin refinery in Lévis to the Montreal East storage and distribution terminal. It was put into operation in 2012 after eight years of construction. But what many in the room remember most is that Mr. Charest imposed a carbon tax on Quebec even before Justin Trudeau got started.

Teased about the convoy

Jean Charest was openly booed when he attacked the truck convoy that occupied the federal capital in February.

“This mess we saw is Justin Trudeau’s fault. But Mr Poilievre supported this illegal lockdown. It’s true. You cannot defend laws and break them at the same time. It’s a matter of principle,” he said, drawing the ire of the crowd.

His opponents countered that it was more a movement of concerned Canadians fighting for their livelihood threatened by vaccination requirements. Leslyn Lewis, Pierre Poilievre and Roman Barber proudly reaffirmed their support for the movement.

Abortion causes discomfort

Leslyn Lewis, the only anti-abortion candidate, tried to force her opponents to speak out on the issue.

Instead of defending women’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, Jean Charest turned to anti-abortionists, who make up more than a third of the party’s MPs and a significant proportion of its membership.

“Leslyn, I have great respect for your position on abortion. I would like to address a word to the social conservatives this evening. We may disagree on some things, but people who describe themselves as social conservatives believe in family and community. Seems like a lot of good people to me,” he said.

The absent are always wrong

The moderators of the debate failed to appreciate that the sixth contender for the Conservative leadership, Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, was insulting their event.

“We can only speculate about the reason for his absence, we don’t know. But we do know for sure that some Canadians are concerned that Mayor Brown is sowing the seeds of division in the country. He is accused of manipulating the diaspora to boost his campaign,” moderator Jamil Jivani said.

Mr. Brown’s campaign primarily targets cultural communities, including Sikhs, Nepalese, Indians and Tamils. The connections he has had with these communities over the years allowed him to become leader of the Ontario Conservative Party in 2015.

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