Harel will not debate in English
Published Tuesday, September 22, 2009 6:49PM EDT
Vision Montreal leader Louise Harel has decided that she will not participate in an English debate on CTV News.
Harel confirmed her decision late Tuesday afternoon, citing concerns about her ability to effectively express her ideas.
"I very much want to create a stronger bond with the Montreal English-speaking community during this election campaign. But at this point in time, taking part in an English debate is not the best way to do this," Harel said in a statement.
Harel said she can express herself in English, understand it and read it -- but she is not bilingual enough to perform in the "confrontational context" of a debate.
CTV Montreal had offered to provide simultaneous translations for Harel, but she declined the offer.
Harel's team suggested that she was willing to deliver a prepared statement in English, as opposed to participating in a traditional debate.
Jed Kahane, CTV Montreal's director of news and public affairs, decided not to accept Harel's offer.
Kahane said the purpose of the debate was to provide viewers with an unscripted exchange of ideas.
"Our goal the whole time was simply to get Mme. Harel here along with the other two candidates to help our viewers make the most informed choice on Election Day," said Kahane.
Harel said over the next few weeks she will try to find other ways to connect with English-speaking Montrealers.
"I do intend to use all other means at my disposal, by increasing for instance the number of appearances and interviews in this community," she said.