The first French debate shows Canada sliding back into some dangerous habits

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Given the degree to which the event was designed to exclude the majority of the country, you’d think some of the more principled leaders might have had qualms about participating

What a strange and unusual country we live in.

On Wednesday a television network in Quebec held a debate. Only four leaders were invited, although there were six parties with seats in Parliament when the election was called.

Although the Green party and the nascent People’s party are each running candidates in more than 300 ridings across the country, neither was asked to take part. On the other hand, Yves-François Blanchet’s Bloc Québécois, which is contesting seats only in Quebec, was welcomed on stage with the Liberal, Conservative and New Democratic Party leaders.

The debate was conducted only in French, which is great for the seven million Canadians who claim it as their mother tongue, mostly, of course, in Quebec. As for the other 30 million Canadians … well, if you were determined enough, you could listen in to a translation, on another channel, after the event was over. If you were determined.

And why would you be, unless you have an abiding fascination in whatever issues happen to be preoccupying a single province out of the 10 — and three territories — that make up this country. The structure of the debate gave an inherent advantage to Blanchet, the separatist, as the one leader focused solely on Quebec, who has no need to show the slightest interest in the rest of the country and who can tailor his platform to curry favour with francophone Quebecers, a subsection of a subsection of the electorate, knowing he’ll never be in power and thus forced to deliver the goods.

Perhaps that’s no surprise, given that TVA, the network that sponsored the debate, is a subsidiary of Quebecor Inc., whose current president and chief executive officer, Pierre Karl Peladeau, is a declared separatist who headed the separatist Parti Québécois before quitting to return to the family firm.

Given the degree to which the event was designed to exclude the majority of the country, you’d think some of the more principled leaders might have had qualms about participating. Not a chance. It was, in fact, the first debate Justin Trudeau saw fit to attend. Trudeau blew off two previous opportunities to engage in a discussion of issues, both in English and thus easily accessible to the broad sweep of voters. One went ahead with just three participants, the other, which was to focus on foreign affairs, was cancelled.

full story at https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/election-2019/np-view-the-first-french-debate-shows-canada-sliding-back-into-some-dangerous-habits

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