Coalition Avenir Quebec Chief François Legault was compelled to defend his latest controversial feedback on immigration and his dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday in the course of the first leaders’ debate of the Quebec election marketing campaign.
Early within the contest on the TVA community, moderator Pierre Bruneau requested Legault if he believes there may be extra violence in Montreal than in different components of the province as a result of the area receives extra immigrants.
“That is not what I stated,” Legault responded.
“Sure or no?” Liberal Chief Dominique Anglade requested.
“What I stated is that every one the nations on this planet have to make sure that new arrivals are built-in into the values of the place they’ll stay, take a look at what’s taking place in Sweden,” Legault stated with out giving particulars of the scenario in that nation. “And in Quebec, our precedence is to combine in French.”
Earlier this month, a right-wing bloc that features a nationalist anti-immigration get together gained a slim majority in Sweden’s parliament — a significant political shift within the Scandinavian nation, which had a decades-long historical past of welcoming refugees however is grappling with against the law wave linked to immigration.
Throughout the election marketing campaign, Legault has stated Quebecers “do not like violence,” in response to a query on the problem of integrating newcomers.
Legault and Anglade — who beforehand referred to Legault’s feedback about immigrants as “pathetic” — would return to the topic later within the two-hour debate.
The talk — often known as a “head-to-head” contest as a result of leaders are pitted in opposition to each other — was divided into three sections: the atmosphere, high quality of life and the economic system; well being, household and training; and immigration, language and identification.
Anglade hit the premier by saying, “Each time Mr. Legault talks about immigration, there’s all the time one thing damaging related to it.”
“I believe we each agree that immigration is a supply of wealth,” Legault stated a number of moments later.
“I am undecided with the feedback that you’ve got made,” Anglade replied.
Legault’s administration of the COVID-19 pandemic got here to the forefront as he confronted off in opposition to Conservative Social gathering of Quebec Chief Eric Duhaime, whose get together has gained assist by means of its opposition to public well being measures.
“I did not get into politics to shut companies and impose masks; I did that to avoid wasting lives,” Legault stated, defending his authorities’s administration of the pandemic. He stated that research have proven the province had a decrease charge of extra mortality than elsewhere in North America.
“We had extra deaths per capita than wherever else in Canada,” Duhaime responded, earlier than asking what scientific research Legault learn earlier than imposing a five-month curfew — the one such measure utilized in Canada in the course of the well being disaster.
“Are you attempting to inform me that asking folks to go dwelling at 8 p.m. did not cut back contacts?” Legault responded, rising visibly indignant.
“The thought was to scale back contacts, so there have been fewer contacts, so there have been fewer deaths.”
Legault squared off on taxes with Quebec solidaire spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, whose get together needs to impose an inheritance tax on property price greater than $1 million and put in place an annual wealth tax on folks whose property are price greater than that quantity.
“Individuals who have gathered a couple of million can contribute a bit of extra,” Nadeau-Dubois stated.
Legault replied that the spokesman for the left-wing get together wished to “double tax” folks’s properties.
“You are saying that somebody who labored all their life and paid off their home and paid capital positive factors — you are going to tax them once more?”
In one of many weirder components of the talk, Parti Quebecois Chief Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, throughout an change on educational freedom, stated no phrases must be banned from the classroom — together with the N-word.
And the PQ chief dared Nadeau-Dubois to say the phrase publicly, referring to a well-known e-book whose title consists of the N-word.
Nadeau-Dubois met the dare and acknowledged the title of the e-book, saying he had no downside utilizing the phrase.
The talk comes as a Leger ballot for Quebecor media printed earlier Thursday reveals a slight drop in assist for the CAQ, down 4 factors to 38 per cent. They’re adopted by the Liberals at 18 per cent, Quebec solidaire at 17 and the Conservatives at 15 per cent. The PQ trails the pack at 11 per cent.
The net survey of three,100 Quebecers aged 18 and older between Sept. 6 and 12, can’t be assigned a margin of error as a result of internet-based polls should not thought-about random samples.
A second French debate, on Radio-Canada, will happen on Sept. 22.
In contrast to in 2018, there can be no English-language debate this election marketing campaign.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Sept. 15, 2022.
— With recordsdata from The Related Press.