Quebec's first televised English-language electoral debate confirmed for September 17th
The Quebec leaders' debate will feature Quebec solidaire leader Manon Masse, Parti quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisee, Liberal leader Philippe Couillard and CAQ leader Francois Legault.
Published Tuesday, May 15, 2018 5:00AM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, May 15, 2018 9:44PM EDT
For the first time in Quebec electoral history English-speaking voters will be able to watch political leaders debate in their own language.
A consortium of media outlets announced Tuesday morning that they have finalized an agreement with the four major political parties for a 90-minute televised debate on the evening of Monday, September 17, 2018.
The event will be held at the Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal, the same location where the French language debate will be produced the week prior.
The media consortium for the English debate is made up of CTV News, CJAD 800, CBC, City, Global, and the Montreal Gazette.
The four provincial parties with elected MNAs have confirmed their leaders will participate in the English debate: Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Parti Quebecois leader Jean-Francois Lisée, Coalition Avenir Quebec leader Francois Legault, and Quebec Solidaire co-spokesperson Manon Massé.
There has never been a televised English debate in a provincial election campaign.
There was an English debate on radio in 1985, when Liberal leader Robert Bourassa and Pierre-Marc Johnson of the Parti Quebecois faced each other on CJAD 800.
There have been previous attempts to organize a televised debate, but never with any success.
In 2014, leading up to the general election, a consortium of media outlets wrote to Quebec party leaders requesting an English debate.
The proposal was turned down by then-premier Pauline Marois who said her English wasn’t strong enough to properly voice her party’s point of view in a fast-paced debate.
The English-language media group then offered to provide simultaneous translation so Marois could speak in French, but she did not agree.
"I have my answer to that question and I don't have anything to add," Marois said at the time.
Earlier this month, when the idea was first floated, all the leaders immediately expressed interest.
"Oh, absolutely. I'd be very happy to do this," said Premier Phillipe Couillard. “It would be actually normal that we conduct a debate in English. I hope it will take place," he said.
The consortium has yet to announce who will moderate the debate, as well as details on the format.