Trudeau, O’Toole, Singh call for apology over Bill 21 English debate question

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Three prominent party leaders are apologizing to the Association of Media Broadcasters over a question about Quebec laws during a recent English-language debate.

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A question asked by moderator Shachy Curl to Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-François Blanchett during a September 9 debate has drawn criticism in Quebec, including a unanimous call for a formal apology from the provincial National Assembly for “hostile” . Views expressed against the “Nation of Quebec”.

Quebec Premier François Legault has also dismissed questions about Quebec’s Bill 21, which prohibits certain public sector workers from wearing religious symbols, and Bill 96, which deals with language rights.

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The issue has echoed over the past week at the federal campaign, where parties are hoping to make a profit in seat-rich Quebec. On Wednesday, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh all agreed that the consortium should apologise.

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“The premise of the question was wrong and quite frankly an insult to Quebecers. We know that there is a lot of work to do, to fight against systemic discrimination across the country, to stand up to intolerance,” Mr. Trudeau told a conference in Halifax. said during the campaign program. “But Quebecers are not racists. And yes, I think the consortium should explain itself and excuse itself and… apologise.”

Mr O’Toole, whose party has been pretending for Quebec votes over the past weeks, said he would protect the well-being of Quebecers.

“We are tired of cursing Quebec and isolating Quebec, and I think the consortium should recognize this and apologize,” he said at a campaign stop in Jonquier, Ky.

Mr Singh – the first apartheid leader of a major federal political party – later echoed the calls. “It is a mistake to have a problem of systemic racism in only one province, when it is a problem everywhere in Canada,” he said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, “meaning that it is only in one province that is systemic. It damages the work being done to fight. Racism.”

Still, Mr Trudeau said late last week he would “stand up for the fundamental rights of the people” and did not rule out interfering in a court challenge to Bill 21 – what Mr O’Toole said was a conservative government. won’t do that.

During his last swing through Quebec on Wednesday, Mr O’Toole said he tried to address his party’s message to address past concerns about positions in areas such as climate change.

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Mr O’Toole said that, since becoming leader of the party last year, he has worked to build a welcoming conservative movement that is, among other qualities, inclusive, diverse, forward-looking and socially progressive.

“We’re no longer your dad’s conservatives,” he said.

His reach includes reaching out to Quebec, he said, and added that he hopes voters in the province will see his party’s platform and a proposed contract with Quebec that would increase Quebec’s power over immigration, preserve history and help Quebec. building a legacy of. and respecting Quebec’s right to pass its own laws to protect its language and culture.

Upon dissolution, Quebec had 10 Conservative MPs out of a total of 78 seats, and 35 were Liberals, 32 members of the Bloc Québécois, and one New Democrat.

Ms Curl, chair of the Angus Reed Institute, has not formally commented on the controversy since the English debate. In response to a question from The Granthshala, Ms. Curl declined to comment and referred questions to the Debate Consortium.

On Tuesday, the National Assembly of Quebec unanimously adopted a resolution to formally apologize to the Leaders’ Debate Commission for “hostile” views “against the nation of Quebec” during the Anglophone televised debate of September 9, 2021. expressed.

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The resolution called for a message to be sent to Ms. Curl and members of the broadcasters’ union who were part of the debate commission, including APTN News, CBC News, CTV News and Global News.

The Assembly also unanimously adopted a resolution condemning the remarks made by Ms. Kurl concerning Quebec. The resolution said the comments portrayed Quebec as a “society of racism and discrimination” and called for an end to “Québec-cos”.

During the 9 September debate, Ms Curl asked Blanchett why her party supports “discriminatory laws” that “marginalize religious minorities, anglophones and allophones.” Bill 21 prohibits certain public sector employees such as teachers and police officers from wearing religious symbols at work.

“These laws are not about discrimination. They are about Quebec’s values,” Mr. Blanchett said. He accused Ms. Curl of unfairly criticizing Quebec in her question.

Debate Broadcast Group spokesman Leon Mar said in a brief statement last Friday that the question explicitly addressed the two pieces of legislation that “does not state that Quebecers are racist.”

The broadcast group has been contracted by the Leaders’ Debate Commission to produce English-language debates, the statement said. The group selects moderators “who have full journalistic and editorial independence.”

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With reporting by Maneka Raman-Wills in London, Ont.

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