Little English in Vaudreuil riding provincial election candidates’ debate
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
From left to right: Philip Lapalme, Parti Québécois (PQ); Jason Mossa, Green Party; Marie-Claude Nichols, Liberals; Igor Erchov, Québec Solidaire; Claude Bourbonnais, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ); Daniel Pilon, Citoyens au Pouvoir du Québec; and moderator Natalie Poirier at the televised candidates’ debate on Sunday, September 16.
A regionally televised bilingual debate in the Vaudreuil riding didn’t go exactly as planned when all six participating candidates responded almost exclusively in French to the moderator’s bilingual questions last Sunday, September 16.
The debate was a joint venture between CSUR la télé, NéoMédia and The Journal, which live streamed the event on all three Facebook pages. The candidates were asked six questions about the economy, transportation, environment, health, education, and culture and identity.
The participants were Liberal candidate Marie Claude-Nichols who is seeking re-election to a second mandate, Philip Lapalme, Parti Québécois (PQ); Jason Mossa, Green Party; Igor Erchov, Québec Solidaire; Claude Bourbonnais, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ); and Daniel Pilon, Citoyens au Pouvoir.
Candidates Ryan Robertson of the Conservative Party and Ryan Young of the New Democratic Party were also invited but did not participate.
Only one English reply
The questions were telecast full screen in French and English. Moderator Natalie Poirier also read each question aloud in both languages. Bourbonnais was the only candidate who gave a brief response in English near the end of the debate regarding providing Anglophone and Allophone adults with easier access to appropriate French speaking and writing courses.
“We believe at the CAQ, that English or French, everyone is welcome here. What we need to focus on is making Quebec go forward in Canada,” said Bourbonnais before being drowned out by other candidates.
Prepared English statements
At the end of the debate, five of the six candidates spoke English briefly from prepared statements telling voters why they deserve their vote.
“I know the needs of our population and I do care. Our economy is strong and this is why more and more people are choosing Vaudreuil to live and raise their families,” said Nichols who stated the Liberals have delivered four balanced budgets. She also said in French that the French language is not in danger contrary to what the PQ candidate said.
“There are a lot of organizations in our territory that help with Francisation. Vaudreuil-Dorion is very up-to-date with it comes to cultural mediation,” said Nichols. She added the Liberals have been at the forefront of the rapid growth in the region and have firmly pledged the long-awaited hospital will be built, education concerns will be addressed, and solutions will be found to address Highway 20 traffic.
“I pledge to represent you in order to guarantee you a better quality of life that is egalitarian, just and dignified, now and for future generations. On October 1st, let’s vote with our hearts and our values. Since every vote counts, let’s vote green,” said Mossa.
“I’ve seen the boom that has been going on. The CAQ is proposing starting construction of the hospital in our first mandate. We will do much more. Today we announced we will build new schools and the completion of Highway 20 is part of our package,” said Bourbonnais.
“Québec Solidaire is often accused of being a party of dreamers. I find there’s nothing bad about it. Dreamers change the face of the world. Dreamers bring innovation. Today I have a dream. I dream about a just, equitable advanced society with a healthy and well-educated population proud of their democracy. I’m here to bring honesty, transparency and accountability back into politics,” said Erchov.
Citoyens au Pouvoir
“We’re the party of direct democracy (modelled under the Swiss system) and the only party where the citizens are the boss. It’s completely new. We don’t know this system in North America. The more we move ahead the more popular we are becoming. The traditional media doesn’t want to talk about us. Everybody will be surprised on October 1,” said Pilon.
Despite their differing political perspectives and efforts to sway voters to their respective party platforms, at the end of their one-minute sales pitch, all six candidates graciously shook hands and congratulated each other for participating in the debate.