Election 2018: What to watch for in the history-making English debate
Published Sunday, September 16, 2018 9:32AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, September 17, 2018 7:06PM EDT
On September 17th, the four main parties vying for power will come together for a televised English debate at Maison Radio Canada's studio 42 - a first in the province's electoral history.
Liberal Party leader Philippe Couillard, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée, CAQ leader Francois Legault, and Manon Massé, co-spokesperson for Quebec Solidaire, will answer questions submitted by the public.
All four leaders will face questions on six topics: immigration, identity, health care, economy, education, and relations with English-speaking Quebecers.
CTV Montreal is presenting the debate in conjunction with CBC Quebec, Global, CJAD, CityTV, and the Montreal Gazette.
It will be hosted by Global anchor Jamie Orchard, and moderated by Mutsumi Takahasi and CBC's Debra Arbec.
The debate runs from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The debate will be hosted by Global's Jamie Orchard (R), and moderated by CTV Montreal's Mutsumi Takahashi, and CBC Montreal's Debra Arbec.
Francois Legault made headlines when he proposed that new immigrants who didn’t learn French within two years would be deported from the province. It’s a topic that he and Liberal leader Philippe Couillard have opposing views on, with the CAQ leader wanting to cut immigration levels and have newcomers take a values test.
Couillard has said that immigrants could help curb the province’s record labour shortage. The Parti Quebecois has yet to position themselves on the issue, but Jean-Francois Lisee has said that his ideal number is between 35,000 and 40,000 immigrants per year. Quebec Solidaire, meanwhile, has blamed the incumbent premier for turning the immigration debate into a wedge issue.
Quebecers have long been concerned about health care and how to treat the sick and the chronically ill. The province currently budgets $26.5 billion per year on health care and social spending, more than half of all provincial spending, and that number is expected to grow as the population ages.
Throughout the campaign leaders have presented their views about how to improve health care and getting more Quebecers to have more family doctors. Couillard will likely promote his record of increasing the number of people with family doctors -- from 70 percent when he first took office, to 80 percent now -- while his opponents are expected to continue criticizing the status quo, where many nurses say they are overworked.
Economy and the labour shortage
Quebec is currently facing a significant labour shortage, with some 90,000 jobs available. The Liberals have touted immigration as a solution to that shortage, with newcomers filling in those positions. Legault and the CAQ have said they would eliminate 5,000 government jobs. The PQ would encourage newcomers to settle outside of Montreal, and would stand up for the province's non-unionized workers. Quebec Solidaire has said they would increase minimum wage to $15/hour and invest $100 million in small and medium businesses to help them with the costs.
Climate change has been a topic seldom mentioned by any party this election campaign. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of Quebec Solidaire has said his party would bring "a definitive end to the production of hydrocarbons." They also want to ban gas-fueled cars by 2050. The CAQ wants Hydro-Quebec's to be exported internationally.
Relationships with the Anglophone community
The Liberals would build on their October 2017 creation of the Secretariat for relations with English-speaking Quebecers and the $6.9 million earmarked for community organizations. CAQ leader Francois Legault has been non-committal on what he would do for the English community, only saying that they would keep the rights they already have. The PQ would keep the secretariat, but impose a mandatory French test for English CEGEP students. Quebec Solidaire has also said it would keep the secreteriat.