Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – A former Conservative Party of Canada leadership contender said expectations were high for former Quebec premier Jean Charest when he took to the stage in his province for the French -language candidates debate on Wednesday night.
Rudy Husny, who was originally from Quebec and now works as a consultant and political analyst, recalls that Mr. Husny was not only completely bilingual. Charest, but he also needs to “win Quebec” if he hopes to win the national race. “He’s playing a game at home, sort of,” Husny said.
This second official debate on the Conservative’s leadership career will take place on Wednesday in Laval, when candidates have only one week left to sell membership cards to supporters who can choose the next leader in September. 10. A first official debate, in English, took place on May 11 in Edmonton.
Mr. Charest has entered the race to replace Erin O’Toole after leaving federal politics for more than 20 years – including the last decade in the private sector. His team hopes the former federal leader of the Progressive Conservative will attract many new faces to the Conservative Party, including in Quebec.
“He knew the province, obviously, more than anyone,” recalled Conservative MP Gérard Deltell, who supports Jean Charest, like most of his colleagues in the Quebec caucus. The member for Quebec believes the former Liberal premier of Quebec offers the Conservative Party the best chance to regain power in Ottawa.
Mr. Deltell does not believe expectations are higher for Mr. Charest in the debate on Wednesday in Laval: he believes this event will be important for the six candidates in the race.
In any case, Mr. Husny believes this debate in French will be dominated by Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre, the veteran MP from the Ottawa region who is fluent in French – and also wooing activists from Quebec. Mr. Poilievre also spent the weekend campaigning in Quebec.
On Tuesday, he wrote to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland asking the Liberal government to remove the federal tax and the GST on gasoline in the summer because of rising prices for consumers.
The law of secularism
It is also expected that Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, a suburb of Toronto, will catch up with Wednesday’s debate in French. The former MP has focused a large portion of his campaign on this career on selling membership cards to Canadian immigrants and those from cultural communities, including in Montreal.
One of his biggest promises is to fight Quebec’s controversial State Secularism Act, known as “Bill 21”.
This law, adopted in June 2019 in the National Assembly, prohibits state employees in positions of compulsory authority, such as judges, police officers and prison guards, from wearing religious symbols. while performing their duties. This ban also extends to teachers on the public network.
Before entering the race, Mr. campaigned. Brown urged mayors of other cities across Canada to pledge financial support for those challenging the law in court. The mayor of Brampton felt that this law violated the religious freedoms of Quebecers.
Poilievre has previously said he believes the law is wrong and hopes Quebec will repeal it. Mr. Charest also expressed his opposition to this law.
But according to Mr. Deltell, if some can favor Mr. Brown’s approach, many others believe that supporting the challenge would interfere with a field of Quebec jurisdiction. “I totally disagree with the mayor of a city in another province who decided to put money against a provincial decision,” he said.
Mr. Husny expects that “Bill 21”, as well as the update of “Law 101”, Bill 96 passed Tuesday in the National Assembly, will be among the questions raised in the French debate on Wednesday in Quebec.
He also expects to see applicants discuss Roxham Road in Montérégie, which many asylum seekers use to enter Canada irregularly. Quebec Premier François Legault recently asked Ottawa to close Roxham Road.