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Bloc Quebecois leader kicked off the electoral campaign by calling it 'irresponsible'


Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves Francois Blanchet criticized Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and called him "very irresponsible" as he launched his campaign on Sunday while facing the COVID-19 fourth wave.

Blanchet questioned Trudeau's decision to call an election as Ottawa looks into imposing mandatory vaccination for all government employees.

"If the threat is so great that we need to impose mandatory vaccination, isn't it too dangerous to also go on an election campaign?" Blanchet told reporters.

"Isn't that a complete contradiction coming from the Liberals?"

Blanchet brought up a number of issues that would have normally been addressed during a campaign taking place outside the setting of a pandemic, including the environment, health care for seniors, pharmaceutical research, tourism, different regions in Quebec and labour shortages.

"But instead of talking about all of that, we are going to analyze the numbers every day," Blanchet said.

"How many new cases? How many hospitalizations? And, dramatically, how many deaths? We will wonder each day what campaign organization is going to be the first to have a COVID-19 outbreak. We will be focused on daily life rather than on a vision of the future," he added.

Blanchet confirmed that his team was going to be very careful in the coming weeks, while facing an increase in COVID-19 cases -- including forbidding handshakes and hugs. He mentioned everyone on his campaign was adequately vaccinated.

Blanchet said Trudeau's goal to win a majority, which he said he thinks people will refuse to give him, carries a risk for Quebec to lose gains, such as the protection of the French language, the province secular nature and its management in terms of agriculture and health.

The Bloc leader suggested that the large presence of Bloc members in the House of Commons allowed Premier Francois Legault's government to have a better balance of power with Ottawa, and to obtain money.

Blanchet said he wishes to have a "real discussion" during the election campaign about a future economic plan that would make it possible to exit the oil industry by opting for sustainable energies in which Quebec has expertise.

Despite the critics that his party faced recently due to its methods of choosing certain candidates, Blanchet said that his "machine is running at full speed" and that "the funding is there."

Activists accused the Bloc leader of suspending inauguration assemblies and "breaking the democratic principles" of former Quebec premier Rene Levesque.

Blanchet responded by blaming Trudeau, saying the rushed election forced the Bloc to select candidates without having time to go through investiture ceremonies. He added that he applied the party's rules.

Following the press conference, Blanchet headed over to take part in Pride celebrations for the LGBTQ community in Montreal.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 15, 2021. Top Stories

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