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Canada Quebec demands apology after English federal election debate

03:06  15 september  2021
03:06  15 september  2021 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Yves-François Blanchet et al. standing in front of a crowd: Federal party leaders take part in the English-language debate in Gatineau on Sept. 9, 2021. © Provided by The Gazette Federal party leaders take part in the English-language debate in Gatineau on Sept. 9, 2021.

QUEBEC — The National Assembly is calling for an apology from the consortium of media broadcasters, which drafted a controversial question saying Quebec has discriminatory laws for the English leaders’ debate last week.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, MNAs adopted a Parti Québécois-sponsored motion calling for a formal apology for the “hostile trial launched against the Quebec nation during the anglophone televised debate of Sept. 9, 2021.”

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A copy of the motion is to be sent to the members of Debate Broadcast Group, which includes APTN News, the CBC, CTV and Global News chain as well as the moderator of the debate, Shachi Kurl, president of Angus Reid.

MNAs also adopted a second motion, this one sponsored by the Quebec Liberals, condemning the statement made by Kurl in the preamble to her question to Bloc Québécois Leader Yves François Blanchet.

It says Quebec forms an “open, free, strong and proud nation that is totally capable of having frank discussions about often delicate subjects and to legislate on such subjects,” which are under the jurisdiction of the National Assembly.

“We call for an end to the Quebec bashing, a phenomenon that hinders the good functioning of the Canadian federation and which seeks to negatively generalize sensitive issues” and which “depicts Quebec in an unjust and negative manner.”

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On Friday, after Premier François Legault described the question posed by Kurl as an attack on the Quebec nation.

The Debate Broadcast Group responded with a statement saying the question was designed to give Blanchet a chance to explain his views on the laws, Bill 21 on state secularism, and Bill 96 reforming the Charter of the French Language.

“The question was explicitly about these laws,” the statement said. “The question did not state that Quebecers are racists.”

Support for the Bloc has nevertheless increased since the debate.

But the statement did not settle matters. On Tuesday, with the National Assembly resuming work after the summer break, the issue roared to life at a morning news conference where PQ Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon lashed out.

He said Legault’s response, which was to suggest the organizers apologize, was not tough enough.

“We want apologies for this,” he told reporters. “We’re fed up with this, fed up with the contempt, fed up with the insults.”

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He said he was not surprised the story about the debate has been largely ignored in the rest of Canada.

“That’s because everyone thinks this is normal, that it is correct. It shows the magnitude of how normal it is in Canada to treat Quebec with contempt. The same thing happened in 2019. They don’t even ask themselves the question. It’s a fact.”

The federal election dominated the first question period of season with Premier François Legault continuing his campaign to try and influence the way Quebecers vote next Monday. Last week he endorsed the federal Conservatives.

“What I have said several times and will continue to say until Sept. 20 is there are three parties, the Liberals, NDP and Green Party, which threaten the autonomy of the Quebec nation,” Legault said.

“So there are two blue parties left.”

“Mr. Speaker, you will notice there is no longer a crucifix, it is gone from the blue room (of the legislature),” Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade fired back at Legault. “We don’t need a premier playing the role of a priest from 1950 telling people what to think and for whom they should vote.”

Voting Liberal, NDP or Green would be dangerous for Quebec, Legault says

  Voting Liberal, NDP or Green would be dangerous for Quebec, Legault says QUEBEC — Premier François Legault is urging Quebec nationalists to beware of three of the federal political parties, the Liberals, New Democratic Party or Green Party, because they want to centralize more power in Ottawa. On the other hand, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is willing to give Quebec more powers over immigration even if he also wants to rip up the $6-billion daycare deal signed by Legault and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau just before the election. Legault is not satisfied with O’Toole’s formula for the federal health transfer to Quebec because it falls short of what Quebec and other provinces need.

Legault tried to counterattack, pouncing on the news that Liberal house leader André Fortin helped prepare Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for the leaders’ debates by giving him advice on Quebec.

Legault said it shows Anglade’s Liberals are too close to Trudeau.

“For us, things are clear,” Legault said. “We are not about to sell our souls for federal money. Who is the real boss of the (house) leader of the Liberals?”

pauthier@postmedia.com

twitter.com/philipauthier

Related

Trudeau on defence as opposition leaders fight for points in English election debate .
Canada's federal party leaders were quickly put on their heels in the first moments of the English language debate Thursday, the last face-off before election night.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul each faced questions on their leadership qualities and shortcomings from moderator Shachi Kurl at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que.

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