Quebec’s “discriminatory” laws burst into the English debate

Hostilities had not even started yet, during the very first minutes of the leaders’ debate in English on Thursday evening, host Shachi Kurl sowed controversy by asserting, in her question to the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, that the Law on the secularism of the State and Bill 96 on the French language are “discriminatory”.

“You deny that Quebec has a problem of racism, yet you defend legislation such as bills 96 and 21, which marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones,” said the president of the polling firm Angus Reid . “Quebec is recognized as a distinct society, but for those outside the province, please explain to them why your party also supports these discriminatory laws,” she asked. Yves-Francois Blanchet.

“The question implies the answer you want to hear,” replied the leader of the Bloc Québécois. These laws are not discriminatory, they are about Quebec values. “

“… and yet religious minorities, sir, cannot progress [dans leur emploi] if they wear their religious sign, ”interrupted the journalist.

Mr. Blanchet concluded his answer by recalling that the Quebec nation has been recognized by Parliament and not only the concept of a distinct society.

Bill 96 wants to make French the only official and common language of Quebec by amending the Canadian constitution. The Quebec Community Groups Network, which brings together a large number of English-speaking organizations, considers that it would violate their rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Later, the leader of the Green Party, Annamie Paul, attacked the leader of the Bloc Québécois. “I invited Mr. Blanchet to educate himself about systemic racism. I stand by this invitation, I would be happy to educate him, ”she said. A few seconds earlier, the Bloc argued that the debate had become too “aggressive” on the issue of racism, which had become “a political tool” to criticize Quebec.

When the latter wanted to reply, the host prevented him from doing so, since his turn was over. “Nice use of your time to insult people,” he said. “It’s not an insult, it’s an invitation to educate yourself,” Ms. Paul concluded.

The English debate is the only chance for three of the leaders of the five main parties to debate in their mother tongue and to convince voters in predominantly English-speaking provinces. They crossed swords at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. The format adopted by the Debate Broadcasting Group combined speaking from members of the public, questions from the moderator to a particular leader and a round of debate open to all five leaders.

Further details will follow.

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