Quebec election: sparks fly in leaders’ debate over COVID-19 measures, environment |

Quebec occasion leaders confronted off for the second and final time in a French-language debate Thursday evening, with François Legault on the defensive in opposition to his opponents forward of the Oct. 3 election.

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ), led by Legault, nonetheless has a stable lead within the polls as voting day looms. The opposite 4 essential events are vying for second place because the Official Opposition within the provincial legislature.

Legault instantly went after Québec solidaire spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois over the subject of surroundings, accusing him of residing in “Wonderland” for promising to incorporate surcharges for sure automobiles like SUVs.

The 32-year-old snapped again, telling Legault to take away the Halloween decorations and to as a substitute suggest options.

“You must cease scaring Quebecers,” Nadeau-Dubois mentioned.

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Final debate could be last chance to coalesce opposition to CAQ

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Legault’s assault comes because the left-leaning, sovereigntist occasion, which places forth daring guarantees to battle local weather change, is seeking to exchange the Liberals because the Official Opposition.

Earlier this week, a new poll put Québec solidaire at a tie with the Quebec Liberal Occasion and the Conservative Occasion of Quebec for second place amongst voters at 16 per cent. The assist for Legault’s CAQ has not waned a lot for the reason that starting of the marketing campaign however Québec solidaire is the top pick for voters between the age of 18 and 34.

Legault, in the meantime, was additionally on the defensive from all the opposite leaders for his occasion’s promised “third hyperlink” tunnel crossing the St-Lawrence River from Quebec Metropolis to its south shore of Lévis. He has come under fire for a scarcity of transparency over any type of research into the venture.

Paul St-Pierre Plamondon, chief of the Parti Québécois, went as far as to accuse the incumbent CAQ of placing forth a roadway that’s “not within the public curiosity.”

The controversy, hosted by Radio-Canada, supplied one other probability for the Liberal, Québec solidaire, Conservative and Parti Québécois leaders to make their pitch. It was divided into 5 sections: the surroundings; the price of residing and the economic system; well being care; schooling and public companies; and the French language, immigration and id.

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When it got here to the economic system and cost-of-living issues, Liberal Chief Dominique Anglade mentioned her plan to supply tax cuts to Quebecers wouldn’t gas inflation as a result of the additional cash would assist individuals fulfill their fundamental wants.

On the outset of the marketing campaign, the CAQ additionally supplied to trim earnings taxes  — whereas the Conservatives have pledged even deeper tax cuts and even  than both of these two events. In the meantime, each Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois have mentioned they don’t plan to chop taxes.

“It’s a one-way journey towards austerity, and it’s a gift for the richest,” mentioned St-Pierre Plamondon, whose occasion is promising refundable tax credit.

Legault additionally went after Nadeau-Dubois once more, mentioning feedback the Québec solidaire chief made about “reducing the expansion” of sure sectors of the economic system.

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“Which sectors are you speaking about?” Legault requested.

Nadeau-Dubois didn’t straight handle the query however talked about how demand will quickly lower for fossil fuels, which he mentioned would have an effect on firms similar to oil refineries.

Legault minimize him off, “and what in regards to the manufacturing business?” He instructed Québec solidaire’s concepts would negatively influence the economic system. Nadeau-Dubois as soon as once more accused Legault of utilizing concern to make his arguments.

Conflict over COVID-19 measures

When the talk turned to the subject of well being, the incumbent premier went after the chief of the Conservative Occasion of Quebec over criticism of the federal government’s dealing with of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leaders have been weighing in on psychological well being and that’s when Legault and Éric Duhaime went face to face.

Legault claimed Duhaime whose occasion has gained traction with Quebecers over its robust opposition to COVID-19 public well being measures — has been irresponsible and has “performed the function of agitator.” He additionally claimed that Duhaime benefitted from the struggling of Quebecers throughout a well being disaster.

CAQ Chief Francois Legault and Liberal Chief Dominique Anglade look in the direction of moderator Patrice Roy throughout a leaders debate in Montreal, Thursday, September 22, 2022. Quebecers will go to the polls on October third.

Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

Duhaime shot again and accused Legault of being unable to confess that Quebec has a psychological well being downside associated to the strict COVID-19 guidelines, which included a five-month curfew.

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Legault minimize him off.

“What number of have been you able to sacrifice? Had been you able to sacrifice twice as many seniors, thrice as many seniors?” Legault mentioned, referring to imposing fewer guidelines.

Duhaime replied, “You have been irresponsible with the youngsters of Quebec, Mr. Legault, always remember that.”

Fiery exchanges over language, sovereignty

The leaders of Quebec’s 5 main events additionally took purpose at each other over the matters of sovereignty, defending the French language and the spiritual neutrality regulation referred to as Invoice 21.

Legault, a former PQ minister, mentioned whereas he understands the idea of sovereignty, Quebecers have priorities aside from “having a referendum” proper now.

“It might divide Quebecers,” Legault mentioned.

Anglade mentioned her occasion is federalist and he or she would vote no to separation. If the Liberals shaped the following authorities, she would work with Ottawa. Duhaime, in the meantime, mentioned he was proud that this election might flip the web page of “60 years of preventing” within the province.

READ MORE: Quebec election: Leaders square off on immigration, taxes and COVID in first debate

St-Pierre Plamondon claimed Legault was a federalist and claimed the CAQ is the “most in opposition to” Quebec sovereignty.

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“Your venture is to extinguish the independence of Quebec,” he mentioned.

The chief of the Quebec Liberal Occasion additionally criticized Legault for each Invoice 21 and Invoice 96, his authorities’s contentious language-law reform. She mentioned the easiest way to guard French shouldn’t be by “eradicating rights,” however by selling and inspiring individuals to study the language.

“The truth is he divided Quebecers on these two points,” Anglade mentioned.

 — with information from World Information’ Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

© 2022 World Information, a division of Corus Leisure Inc.

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