There is much riding on the French language debate tomorrow. It could be equated to an English language debate for just Canada’s western provinces. It would have different spectres to address but would raise the same kind of angers and prejudices. It might explain our failures in nation building.
And we are failing. Many blame the rising tempers that we are witnessing as a reflection on the pandemic we have faced so awkwardly. It could run even deeper than that.
Not that Canada is unique. We can see the similar anger in our American neighbours. It is evident on the streets of London, Paris and Rome. We can see it in the continued turmoil of the Middle East, on the streets of Mumbai, the displeasure with governance in Hong Kong, and the intransigence of Beijing.
But that hardly makes Quebec insignificant. Those of us who love what Quebec stands for in a united Canada still worry about what the debate can foretell.
And frankly, if Jagmeet Singh, Erin O’Toole and Annamie Paul missed attending, it would not change much. They are only there to spread confusion. They just add noise. They could possibly win a few votes but are unlikely to affect the outcome in Quebec.
The two candidates with the most to gain and, of course, the most to lose are liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Bloc Québécois leader Yves-François Blanchet. Both speak as native to Quebec.
As we move across Canada on election night, we expect the liberals to have a lead out of the Atlantic provinces. A greater lead out of Quebec would spell at least a liberal minority. And if the vote in Ontario does not cap the lead, there is still hope in British Columbia.
But it is a fair fight between Blanchet and Trudeau. They are both at home in French. Both have a quasi-endorsement by the currently popular provincial government. Each understands the biases and concerns of Quebec voters.
But they differ in interesting ways. Trudeau is to the manor born. Blanchet tries to emulate the modern Québécois business executive. We will watch the debate with interest.
Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry
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