(Montreal) “The absent are always wrong,” pleads the Quebec Conservative Party (PCQ), which invites Liberal leader Dominique Anglade to take part in an English debate in the next election campaign, even if First Minister François Legault declines to be there.
Posted at 1:07 p.m
According to PCQ Chair Éric Duhaime, Quebec’s English-speaking community deserves debate on the issues close to their hearts, particularly health, education and languages.
Political parties cannot stop here after a consortium of English-language media decided on Friday to cancel its debate scheduled for September 20 over the resignation of Mr Legault and that of Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Paul St-. Pierre Plamondon.
The consortium had stated that without the presence of all relevant parties it would be impossible to have a “fair and informative” debate.
But according to Mr. Duhaime, it is not up to the English-speakers to pay for certain parties to be elected. He believes that formations that wish to do so should be able to debate in English.
At least one English-speaking media outlet told the PCQ leader that he was willing to organize a debate in English without the presence of the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ), but the leader of the Liberal Party should at least be involved.
If Mme Anglade agrees to participate, the organizers would be willing to start new poles with all parties including the PQ and the CAQ if they wish to reconsider their initial decision.
On Friday, Mr Legault’s press secretary had warned that the debates are taking a long time to prepare and that the Prime Minister had already agreed to argue in French with the other leaders on the TVA and Radio-Canada airwaves.
Mr Duhaime disagrees with this argument as he says that after preparing for two debates, the additional time spent preparing the debate in English would not be as substantial.
Instead, he accused the Prime Minister of wanting to limit the debates ahead of the elections, in which he is considered the big favorite. Mr Duhaime also recalled that Mr Legault took part in a debate in English during the 2018 election campaign.
According to the head of the PCQ, opposition parties could even take advantage of Mr Legault’s absence as it would give them more visibility, which they have struggled to achieve in recent years due to the pandemic.