Party leaders agree to hold election debate on English TV
Published Tuesday, May 1, 2018 12:47PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 1, 2018 8:45PM EDT
Four provincial political leaders have agreed to hold a debate in English, following a request made by a consortium of English media, including CTV.
On Tuesday Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée told CTV News he wants to debate in English and he hoped his counterparts would agree.
"I think there is much to tell the anglo population of Quebec, how they’ve been taken for granted by the Liberals... Mr. Couillard has a lot to answer for in French and in English. That’s why I think we should have an English debate," said Lisée. “I'm looking forward to it.”
Premier Couillard also said that he would be willing to take part in a debate in English.
"Oh, absolutely. I'd be very happy to do this. It would be actually normal that we conduct a debate in English. I hope it will take place," Couillard said.
In the early afternoon Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault said he would be willing to take part in an English-language debate, writing on Twitter: “I accept with great pleasure to hold a debate in English and present our ideas to enrich Quebec and Quebecers. Looking forward to it!"
Finally, Quebec Solidaire jumped on board too, with Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois tweeting: "English-speaking Quebecers have been taken for granted for decades by the Liberal party. Quebec Solidaire will gladly participate in an electoral debate in English."
There has not been a provincial leaders' debate in English since 1985, and that was on radio.
Parti Quebecois leader Pierre-Marc Johnson debated Liberal leader Robert Bourassa on CJAD 800 radio.
There has never been a debate on English television.
Media companies in Quebec have frequently asked leaders to debate in English and frequently been turned down, with many party leaders saying they did not feel their English was strong enough.
Last year the leading candidates to become mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre and Valerie Plante, took part in an English-language debate that was livestreamed on several media platforms and aired on radio.
Details on the English TV debate are still to be worked out and confirmed. The parties and the media consortium have to agree on a date and format that's acceptable to all.