Transcript: What Moves Quebecers? | Sep 09, 2021

Steve Paikin sits behind a glass desk in the TVO studio. A softly lit blue background and the red, lower-case ‘a’ Agenda logo are behind him.
Steve wears a dark grey suit and tie with a white dress shirt. He is clean shaven and has short brown hair.

Text reads, What Moves Quebecers?
@spaikin @theagenda

Steve says, LAST NIGHT, THE
FEDERAL LEADERS DEBATED FOR THE
SECOND TIME IN FRENCH,
PRIMARILY, OF COURSE, FOR A
QUEBEC AUDIENCE.
LA BELLE PROVINCE IS OF COURSE
ALWAYS CRITICAL FOR FEDERAL
POLITICS, BUT FOR THE REST OF
CANADA, THE ISSUES, PLAYERS AND
MOTIVATION OF VOTERS ARE RARELY
WELL KNOWN.
HERE TO HELP REMEDY THAT JUST A
BIT: WE WELCOME
IN MONTREAL, QUEBEC,
DANIEL BELAND, DIRECTOR OF THE
MCGILL INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY
OF CANADA.

Daniel wears a blue blazer over a light blue open collared shirt. He wears glasses and has short dark hair and is clean shaven. He sits in front of a light grey wall and three dark grey doors.

Steve continues, AND IN KINGSTON, ONTARIO,
STEPHANIE CHOUINARD, WHO TEACHES
POLITICAL SCIENCE AT THE ROYAL
MILITARY COLLEGE AND QUEEN'S
UNIVERSITY.

Stephanie wears a navy-blue blazer over a blue shirt. She has long straight blonde hair and sits in front of a blue backdrop with Queen’s University and RMC logos on it.

Steve continues, IT'S GOOD TO HAVE BOTH OF YOU ON
TVO TONIGHT.
LET'S JUST START WITH A VERY
SIMPLE QUESTION: STEPHANIE, WHO
DID THE BEST IN LAST NIGHT'S
DEBATE, IN YOUR VIEW?

Text reads, Debate Night: Who Won? Who Lost?
Stephanie Chouinard. Queen’s University.

Stephanie says, I
THOUGHT THE LEADER WHO WAS ABLE
TO EXPLAIN THE BEST HIS POLICIES
WAS MR. TRUDEAU LAST NIGHT.
I THOUGHT HE WAS REMARKABLE IN
HOW INDEPTH HE KNEW HIS OWN
POLICIES, ESPECIALLY COMPARED TO
MR. O'TOOLE WHO IS OBVIOUSLY A
LITTLE BIT LESS NIMBLE IN FRENCH BUT
OFTEN CAME BACK TO, "WE HAVE A
PLAN FOR THAT" AND "WE HAVE A
PLAN FOR THAT" AND WAS LESS SO
ABLE TO EXPLAIN TO THE VIEWERS
WHAT THAT PLAN ACTUALLY WAS.

Steve says, DANIEL, YOUR VIEW?

Text reads, Daniel Beland. McGill University.

Daniel says, YES, I AGREE
AND I THINK IF YOU READ THE
NEWSPAPERS, THE FRANCOPHONE
NEWSPAPERS IN QUEBEC THIS
MORNING, THIS IS THE GENERAL
IMPRESSION I THINK OVERALL, THAT
THE PRIME MINISTER DID WELL, AND
AT THIS MOMENT PROBABLY THE VERY
INTENSE -- MOST INTENSE MOMENT
OF THE DEBATE WERE THE PRIME
MINISTER REALLY CRITICIZED
YVES-FRANCOIS BLANCHET'S CLAIM
THAT HE HAS THE MONOPOLY OF
SPEAKING FOR QUEBECERS, AND THIS
WAS A VERY STRONG MOMENT FOR
JUSTIN TRUDEAU IN THE DEBATE, A
DEBATE THAT WAS, I MUST SAY, A
BIT FRAGMENTED AND NOT ALWAYS
THAT FASCINATING.
BUT THAT'S -- YOU KNOW, THESE
DEBATES ARE UNEVEN IN GENERAL.

Steve says, UNEVEN.
THAT'S A NICE WAY OF SAYING THE
CAST OF BEN-HUR WAS INVOLVED IN
LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE.
ANYWAY, IF YOU DIDN'T SEE IT,
LOTS OF DIFFERENT QUESTIONERS
COMING ON DURING THE COURSE OF
THINGS.
THE 11-YEAR-OLD KID I THOUGHT
WAS PRETTY GOOD.
THAT WAS VERY INTERESTING.
BUT STEPHANIE, LET ME FOLLOW UP
WITH THIS.
THERE WAS THAT MOMENT WHERE
MR. TRUDEAU TRIED TO TELL
MR. BLANCHET, I’M A QUEBECER, AND DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT A QUEBECER’S ALL ABOUT.
I CAN BE A QUEBECER AND A PROUD CANADIAN ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
I’M SURE AN ENGLISH AUDIENCE WOULD LOVE
TO HEAR THAT. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT PLAYS IN QUEBEC ITSELF?

Stephanie says, I THINK IN
QUEBEC THAT WAS A STRONG MOMENT
AND I WAS NOT SO SURPRISED TO
SEE MR. TRUDEAU COME AT
MR. BLANCHET FOR THIS BECAUSE
ONE OF MR. BLANCHET'S LINES THROUGHOUT THIS ELECTION WAS
THE BLOC QUEBECOIS IS REALLY THE ONLY
WAY TO MAKE SURE THAT QUEBEC’S
VOICES ARE HEARD IN PARLIAMENT
AND MR. TRUDEAU VERY RIGHTLY
POINTED THAT THERE WERE 11
MEMBERS OF HIS CABINET THAT ARE
ACTUALLY MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT
FOR QUEBEC AND SO HE WAS TRYING
TO MAKE THE POINT THAT ANY
POLITICAL PARTY IN PARLIAMENT
CAN REPRESENT QUEBECERS.
THERE ARE 78 SEATS IN THE HOUSE
OF COMMONS THAT ARE FROM QUEBEC,
AND IT IS UP TO QUEBECERS TO
DECIDE WHAT COLOUR THESE SEATS
ARE GOING TO BE.

Steve says, YOU KNOW, DANIEL,
SOME OF US ARE OLD ENOUGH TO
REMEMBER THE FACT THAT JOHN
DIEFENBAKER WON I THINK 58 SEATS
IN QUEBEC NOT BEING ABLE TO
SPEAK A WORD OF FRENCH BEYOND
BONJOUR AND AU REVOIR.
ERIN O’TOOLE’S FRENCH IS CERTAINLY WAY BETTER THAN JOHN DIEFENBAKER’S.
IT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR A QUEBEC
AUDIENCE THAT CARES ABOUT HOW WELL A
CONSERVATIVE LEADER CAN SPEAK
FRENCH?

Daniel says, I THINK HIS
LEVEL OF FRENCH IS ADEQUATE.
I DON'T THINK IT'S THE QUALITY
OF FRENCH THAT IS THE PROBLEM IN
AND OF ITSELF.
BUT I THINK IT'S THAT HE -- HE
DOESN'T SAY THAT MUCH.
HE REPEATS THE SAME TALKING
POINTS OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND
I THINK YVES-FRANCOIS BLANCHET
LAUGHED AT HIM, ESPECIALLY
DURING THE TVA FACE-TO-FACE LAST WEEK, HE
ALWAYS REPEATED HE HAD A PLAN
AND DIDN'T SAY MUCH BEYOND THAT.
AND I THINK THAT MAY BE DUE TO THE FACT THAT
HE'S NOT SO COMFORTABLE DEBATING
IN FRENCH SO HE REPEATS TALKING
POINTS AND THAT MAKES HIM LOOK A
BIT I WOULD SAY ON THE NEUTRAL SIDE,
NOT REALLY THAT INVOLVED.
YOU CAN SAY, WELL IT'S PRIME
MINISTERIAL TO LOOK CALM, BUT
SOMETIMES YOU NEED A BIT OF FIRE
IN YOUR BELLY AND YOU NEED TO
SHOW THAT YOU'RE PASSIONATE
ABOUT THE ISSUES AND I DON'T
THINK IT WAS A GREAT DEBATE FOR
ERIN O'TOOLE LAST NIGHT.

Steve says, YOU KNOW, IT'S
INTERESTING, STEPHANIE, OF
TRUDEAU, SINGH, THE GREEN
LEADER, ANNAMIE PAUL, AND ERIN
O'TOOLE, ONLY ONE OF THEM IS
BORN IN QUEBEC AND IT'S O'TOOLE.
HOW'S HIS FRENCH?
HE'S BORN IN MONTREAL AND HE
LIKES TO REMIND PEOPLE DURING
THE QUEBEC DEBATES, I'M HAPPY TO
BE BACK IN THE CITY OF MY BIRTH.
HOW IS HIS FRENCH, IN YOUR VIEW?

Stephanie says, I
THINK FRANCOPHONE VOTERS ARE
VERY HAPPY WITH THIS ELECTION
BECAUSE IT'S THE FIRST TIME IN
AT LEAST MY LIFE THAT WE HAVE
ALL OF THE LEADERS OF THE MAIN
FEDERAL PARTIES WHO ARE FLUENT
IN FRENCH AND WE'RE NOT, AS
FRANCOPHONES, LISTENING TO THE
FRENCH DEBATES AND TRYING TO
DECIPHER WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
BECAUSE WE ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING.
AS DANIEL WAS SAYING, THE
PROBLEM IS SOME OF THEM WERE NOT
SAYING MUCH.
SOME OF THE TONES LAST NIGHT WERE I
THINK WERE ADEQUATE FOR A QUEBEC
AUDIENCE, BUT WE WERE EXPECTING
MORE.
THIS WAS THE SECOND DEBATE IN
FRENCH.
WE WERE LOOKING FOR A LITTLE BIT
MORE POLICY SUBSTANCE, A LITTLE
BIT MORE FIRE, AGAIN LIKE DANIEL
SAID, A LITTLE BIT OF PASSION IN
THIS DEBATE, AND IT ONLY REALLY
CAME UP IN THE SECOND HALF OF
THE DEBATE, I THINK.
BUT MORESO I THINK FOR
MR. O'TOOLE THE PROBLEM WAS NOT
THE FLUENCY OF HIS FRENCH, IT'S
THAT THE QUESTION FOR HIM HAS
CHANGED SINCE THE BEGINNING OF
THE CAMPAIGN.

Text reads, Stephanie Chouinard @DrSChouinard

Stephanie continues, HE'S NOT THE UNDERDOG ANYMORE.
AS OF LAST WEEK, HE WAS LEADING.
SO PEOPLE ARE LOOKING AT HIM AND
THEY'RE ASKING, DOES HE HAVE THE
FABRIC OF A PRIME MINISTER?
AND LAST NIGHT HE DID NOT SHOW
THAT.

Steve says, HMM.
DANIEL, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT
ANOTHER PARTY LEADER BORN AND
RAISED IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC
WHO WAS NOT THERE LAST NIGHT.
MAXIME BERNIER WAS NOT INVITED
LAST NIGHT.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE VIEWERS
MISSED BY NOT HAVING THE LEADER
OF THE PEOPLE'S PARTY THERE?

Daniel says, WELL, I
THINK THAT IT'S INTERESTING
THAT, YOU KNOW, BERNIER, OF
COURSE, IS -- I THINK THE FACT
THAT HE'S NOT THERE, I'M NOT
SURE THAT IT'S NECESSARILY BAD
FOR HIM BECAUSE HE CAN THEN SAY
THAT "I'M EXCLUDED BY MAINSTREAM
POLITICS," AND HE'S A POPULIST
LEADER, SO SAYING THAT THE ELITES ARE
EXCLUDING HIM ARE ACTUALLY PART
OF HIS RHETORIC.
SO NOT BEING AT THE TABLE,
THEN HE CAN SAY, "WELL, I'M A VICTIM
OF THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND THE
ELITE," AND SO HE CAN SURF ON
THAT POPULIST WAVE.
BUT STILL I THINK THAT IT'S
IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND WHAT'S
HAPPENING WITH THE PEOPLE'S
PARTY, THAT THEY ARE AHEAD OF
THE GREEN PARTY RIGHT NOW IN THE
POLLS.
AND MAXIME BERNIER CAN RE-TAKE HIS
SEAT AND BOAST FOR EXAMPLE,
IF THE PEOPLE’S PARTY CAN ELECT
ONE, JUST EVEN ONE MP
THEY WILL HAVE A PRESENCE IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
AND I THINK THAT COULD BE
A GAME CHANGER FOR THEM.

Text reads, Daniel Beland. @danielbeland

Daniel continues, THIS POPULIST RIGHT-WING
DISCOURSE THAT IS NOW CLOSELY TIED
TO ANTI-VAX OR ANTIMASK PROTESTS
THAT THIS DISCOURSE HAS QUITE A
FEW TAKERS IN THIS COUNTRY AS WE
CAN SEE LOOKING AT POLLING
NUMBERS.
SO, IT'S IMPORTANT TO I THINK NOT
NEGLECT THE PEOPLE'S PARTY,
ESPECIALLY BECAUSE THEY COULD
HURT THE CONSERVATIVES BECAUSE
IF THEY TAKE VOTES AWAY FROM A
PARTY, IT WOULD BE PRIMARILY
FROM THE CONSERVATIVES, PERHAPS
IN QUEBEC A BIT FROM THE BLOC,
BUT CERTAINLY NOT FROM THE NDP,
THE LIBERALS, OR THE GREEN
PARTY, ON AVERAGE.

Steve says, LET ME FOLLOW UP
WITH YOU, STEPHANIE, ON THAT,
IN AS MUCH AS WHEN THE DEADLINE
WAS SET, THE PEOPLE'S PARTY WAS
ONLY POLLING AT 2%.
THEY DIDN'T HAVE ANY SEATS IN
THE HOUSE.
AND THEREFORE, THEY WERE RENDERED
INELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN
BOTH LAST NIGHT'S DEBATE AND
TONIGHT'S DEBATE.
HOWEVER, NOW THEY'RE AT 11% IN
SOME POLLS IN ONTARIO AND 11% IN
AT LEAST ONE POLL IN QUEBEC.
WHAT INFLUENCE DO YOU THINK THEY
CAN HAVE IN THIS CAMPAIGN AT
THIS JUNCTURE?

Stephanie says, YEAH.
UNFORTUNATELY FOR THE PPC, THE
RULES WERE SET BEFORE THE
ELECTION AND THEY NEEDED TO HIT
THAT 4% IN THE POLLS FIVE DAYS
AFTER THE ELECTION WAS CALLED,
SO, ON AUGUST 20TH.
SO THAT'S WHY REALLY THEY WERE
DISQUALIFIED.
BUT I THINK TO DANIEL'S POINT, I
THINK IT'S TRUE THAT MR. O'TOOLE
WAS PROBABLY HAPPY, IN FACT,
THAT MR. BERNIER WAS NOT ON THE
STAGE LAST NIGHT BECAUSE THERE
IS A CHANCE THAT HE CAN SPLIT
THE VOTE ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES.
NOT ONLY IS THE PPC THE NEW HOME
OF THE ANTIMASK, ANTI-VAX
POPULATION, BUT WE ALSO NEED TO
REMEMBER THAT MAXIME BERNIER IS
A LIBERTARIAN.
AND SO, WHEN WE'RE TALKING ABOUT,
FOR EXAMPLE, THE POSSESSION OF
FIREARMS, HIS POSSESSION IS VERY
CLEAR AND WE'VE SEEN ERIN
O'TOOLE FLIP-FLOP ON THIS ISSUE
IN THE PAST WEEK.
THE OTHER ISSUE THAT WE'RE SEEING IN
THE POLLS, THOUGH, IS THAT THE
RISE IN PERCENTAGE OF THE PPC
DOES NOT ONLY COME FROM PEOPLE
WHO WERE GOING TO VOTE
CONSERVATIVE.
IT SEEMS LIKE WE HAVE A LITTLE
BIT OF AN UNDECIDED VOTE BASE
COMING TO THE PPC THIS TIME
AROUND OR PEOPLE WHO MAY HAVE
DECIDED TO VOTE FOR THE PPC WHO
OTHERWISE WOULDN'T HAVE VOTED.
SO, WE HAVE A BIT OF A BREXIT
KIND OF SITUATION HERE WHERE WE
HAVE NEW VOTERS THAT ARE SHOWING
UP IN THE POLLS THAT DON'T
APPEAR TO BE DISAFFECTED
CONSERVATIVES.

Steve says, LET'S SEE HOW THAT
MIGHT AFFECT THE STATE OF PLAY.
IN DOING SO I'M GOING TO ASK OUR
DIRECTOR SHELDON OSMOND TO BRING
UP A GRAPHIC HERE SHOWING WHAT
THE SEAT COUNT WAS OF THE QUEBEC
SEATS IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
BEFORE PARLIAMENT WAS DISSOLVED.

A graphic with an image of Parliament Hill appears, titled, Quebec Federal Seats (As of dissolution in 2021)

Steve continues, THE LIBERALS HAD THE MOST NUMBER
OF SEATS IN QUEBEC AT 35.
THE BLOC QUEBECOIS CLOSE ON
THEIR HEELS AT 32.
THE CONSERVATIVES, YES, HAD 10
SEATS IN THE PROVINCE OF QUEBEC.
AND THE NDP, DESPITE THE ORANGE
WAVE OF A FEW ELECTIONS AGO,
WERE DOWN TO ONE.
NOW, I GUESS ONE OF THE THINGS
I'M INTERESTED IN HERE, DANIEL,
IS THAT THE -- BEFORE LAST
NIGHT'S DEBATE, POLLS WERE
PICKING UP A BIT OF A SURGE TO
THE CONSERVATIVES AT THE EXPENSE
OF THE BLOC.
AND I WOULDN'T NECESSARILY HAVE
THOUGHT THAT THE SAME VOTER
COULD BE ATTRACTED TO BOTH OF
THOSE PARTIES.
WHAT'S THE COMMON ELEMENT
BETWEEN THE CONSERVATIVES AND
THE BLOC THAT WOULD ALLOW A
VOTER TO SAY, "I'M NOT AS
INTERESTED IN THE BLOC AND
THEREFORE, I MAY GIVE THE
CONSERVATIVES MY VOTE THIS
TIME"?
WHAT'S GOING ON?

Text reads, What’s in Play?

Daniel says, I THINK THE
KEY ISSUE HERE IS THE VISION OF
FEDERALISM, A MORE DECENTRALIZED
VISION.
ERIN O'TOOLE MENTIONS FRANCOIS
LEGAULT REGULARLY ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
AND IT WAS CERTAINLY THE CASE IN
THE FIRST OF THE TWO OFFICIALS
DEBATES, SO LAST NIGHT.
I THINK THAT HE HAS COURTED
QUEBECERS -- QUEBEC
NATIONALISTS, PEOPLE WHO ARE
LIKELY TO SUPPORT FRANCOIS
LEGAULT AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL.
SO, IN TERMS OF FRANCOPHONE
VOTERS LIVING OUTSIDE OF
MONTREAL, BOTH THE BLOC AND THE
CONSERVATIVES ARE REALLY
TARGETING THE SAME AUDIENCE,
BASICALLY.
SO THAT'S WHY ERIN O'TOOLE TALKS
A LOT ABOUT FRANCOIS LEGAULT
BECAUSE HE'S A VERY POPULAR
PREMIER.
HE'S NOT LIKE DOUG FORD OR, EVEN
WORSE, JASON KENNEY -- WORSE IN
TERMS OF WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO
THEM SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE
PANDEMIC -- WHO HAVE FELL IN THE
POLLS.
FRANCOIS LEGAULT REMAINS VERY
POPULAR IN QUEBEC AND BOTH THE
CONSERVATIVES AND THE BLOC ARE
REALLY FOCUSING ON CAQ VOTERS,
PEOPLE WHO VOTED FOR CAQ AT THE
PROVINCIAL LEVEL AND WHO ARE
OFTEN NATIONALISTS BUT THEY'RE
NOT NECESSARILY SOVEREIGNTISTS
AND THEY WANT TO SUPPORT A PARTY
THAT WILL FAVOUR A
DECENTRALIZATION OF THE FEDERAL
SYSTEM.
AND THAT'S WHAT BOTH THE
CONSERVATIVES AND THE BLOC ARE
TALKING ABOUT.
OF COURSE, THEIR RHETORIC IS
DIFFERENT.
BUT IN THE END, I THINK THEY
HAVE SOMETHING STRONG IN COMMON
IN TERMS OF A VISION OF
FEDERALISM WHERE THE PROVINCES,
FOR EXAMPLE, ON HEALTH CARE,
WILL GET MORE MONEY FROM OTTAWA
WITHOUT ANY STRINGS ATTACHED,
SOMETHING THAT THE LIBERALS AND
THE NDP ARE OPPOSED OR AT LEAST
ARE NOT THAT SYMPATHETIC TO.

Steve says, STEPHANIE, DO YOU
HAVE A SENSE THAT IF PREMIER
LEGAULT, WHO I THINK POLLS SHOW
IS THE MOST POPULAR PREMIER IN
THE COUNTRY TODAY, IF HE HAD HIS
DRUTHERS, HOW WOULD HE LIKE TO
SEE THE SEAT COUNT EMERGE AFTER
MONDAY THE 20TH'S ELECTION?

Stephanie says, SO ON
THE ONSET OF THE ELECTION,
MR. LEGAULT MADE NO SECRET THAT
HE WAS HOPING FOR A CONSERVATIVE
MINORITY IN OTTAWA, WITH
PROBABLY A STRONG BLOC PRESENCE,
IF ONLY FOR THE FACT THAT THE
BLOC, SINCE 2019, HAS TURNED
ITSELF INTO FRANCOIS LEGAULT'S
MEGAPHONE IN OTTAWA,
ESSENTIALLY.
THEY'RE VERY MUCH RIDING ON THE COATTAILS
OF THE CAQ, AS DANIEL MENTIONED.
HOWEVER, IF WE WERE TO ASK MR. LEGAULT THIS QUESTION TODAY, I'M
NOT SURE HE WOULD HAVE THE SAME
ANSWER. ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT
WE FINALLY GOT THE COSTING FOR THE
CONSERVATIVE PLATFORM AT THE 11TH HOUR LAST NIGHT BEFORE THE FRENCH DEBATE.
AND WHAT WE KNOW NOW IS THAT QUEBEC WOULD LOSE
OUT LOTS ON THE CHILD CARE FRONT
IF THE CONSERVATIVES WERE IN
POWER.
THE LIBERAL GOVERNMENT HAS
SIGNED AN AGREEMENT TO TRANSFER
$6 BILLION FOR CHILD CARE, AND
OBVIOUSLY, THE QUEBEC GOVERNMENT
HAS PLEDGED TO SPEND IT IN A
NUMBER OF WAYS WITHIN THE CHILD
CARE PROGRAM THAT ALREADY EXISTS
IN QUEBEC, UNLIKE IN OTHER
PROVINCES.
AND THE CONSERVATIVE PLATFORM,
IT IS NOW CLEAR, WOULD BRING IN
A LOT LESS MONEY TO THE
PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT.
SO, IT IS NO COINCIDENCE I THINK
THAT MR. BLANCHET WAS ATTACKING
MR. O’TOOLE BOTH LAST WEEK IN THE TVA DEBATE AND LAST NIGHT ON THAT SPECIFIC
PART OF THE CONSERVATIVE PLATFORM.

Steve says, WELL DANIEL, ONE THING
WE'VE ALL NOTICED IN ENGLISH CANADA
IS THAT NONE OF THE FEDERAL LEADERS
SEEMS PARTICULARLY INTERESTED IN
TAKING ON, FOR EXAMPLE, BILL 21,
THE NO RELIGIOUS, NO HEAD
COVERINGS, BARRING OF RELIGIOUS
SYMBOLS AND SO ON IF YOU WANT TO
WORK IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE.
DOES THAT SUGGEST THAT ALL OF
THESE LEADERS ARE SO CONCERNED
ABOUT STARTING SOME KIND OF
CULTURE WAR BETWEEN ENGLISH AND
FRENCH CANADA THAT THEY ARE
ESSENTIALLY, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE
JUST LEAVING THAT ISSUE ALONE
AND NO ONE IS GOING NEAR IT?

Text reads, Quebec First.

Daniel says, YES.
I THINK THAT IT'S CONSIDERED
A TOXIC ISSUE IN QUEBEC AMONG
FRANCOPHONE VOTERS TO CRITICIZE
BILL 21.
YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO JUSTIN
TRUDEAU BACK IN 2019.
WHEN FRANCOIS LEGAULT CRITICIZED
HIM FOR HIS POSITION ON BILL 21,
THAT WAS ACTUALLY REALLY GOOD
FOR THE BLOC.
AND I THINK YVES-FRANCOIS
BLANCHET, YOU KNOW, HAS REALLY
ALIGNED HIMSELF WITH FRANCOIS
LEGAULT.
HE STARTED IN 2019 AND HE HAS
DONE THAT EVER SINCE.
AND I THINK THAT PEOPLE DON'T
WANT TO MESS WITH FRANCOIS
LEGAULT.
SO, I THINK BECAUSE FRANCOIS
LEGAULT IS DEFENDING BILL 21 AND
HAS BASICALLY TOLD FEDERAL
LEADERS, "YOU SHOULD NOT GET
INVOLVED IN THAT FILE," THAT THE
PARTY LEADERS HAVE OBLIGED
BECAUSE FRANCOIS LEGAULT IS SO
POPULAR IN QUEBEC.
SO, IN THE END IT IS ABOUT
FRANCOIS LEGAULT AND THE FACT
THAT HE IS SO POPULAR THAT THE
PARTY LEADERS ARE AFRAID THAT
LEGAULT COULD TURN AGAINST THEM
PUBLICLY IN A STRONG WAY WHICH
WILL ACTUALLY HURT THEM IN THE
POLLS.

Steve says, YOU KNOW, STEPHANIE,
I REMEMBER MANY ELECTIONS AGO
SOMEBODY ONCE TOLD ME, A
CANDIDATE FOR THE LIBERALS ONCE
TOLD ME, IF QUEBEC SEPARATED,
WOULD ANYBODY REALLY NOTICE?
AND I WONDER WHETHER YOU THINK
THAT, YOU KNOW, BILL 21 IS AN
EXAMPLE OF THE FACT THAT FRENCH
AND ENGLISH ARE MAYBE TWO
SOLITUDES TODAY MORE ENTRENCHED
IN THEIR OWN CAMPS MAYBE MORE
THAN EVER BEFORE?
I DON'T KNOW.
YOU TELL ME.

Stephanie says, WELL,
IF QUEBEC WERE TO SEPARATE, I
CAN TELL YOU THAT A MILLION
FRANCOPHONES OUTSIDE QUEBEC
WOULD DEFINITELY NOTICE BECAUSE
IT WOULD PROBABLY MEAN SOME
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES FOR THE RESPECTIVE
FRENCH IN THE
REST OF CANADA.
BUT TO YOUR QUESTION, I DON'T THINK
WE'RE AT A POINT TODAY WHERE
QUEBEC AND CANADIANS ARE THAT
FAR APART ON SEVERAL ISSUES.
DESPITE THE FACT THAT THERE IS A
STRONG NATIONALIST STANCE,
SOVEREIGNTY TODAY IS ACTUALLY
QUITE AN UNPOPULAR IDEA.
IT'S QUITE STRIKING TO ME THAT
FOR THE PAST TWO ELECTIONS THE
BLOC QUEBECOIS HAS MADE VERY
LITTLE, IF ANY, MENTION OF
SOVEREIGNTY OR OF INDEPENDENCE.
IT IS AN IDEA THAT SEEMS LIKE
IT'S NOT ON THE RADAR ANYMORE
AND IT'S PARTICULARLY UNPOPULAR
AMONG YOUNG QUEBECOIS
POPULATIONS.
SO, I DON'T THINK WE'RE AT A
BREAKING POINT BY ANY STRETCH OF
THE TERM HERE.

Steve says, OKAY.
DANIEL, LET ME ASK THE QUESTION
TO YOU THIS WAY, YOU WORK FOR A
GROUP CALLED THE MCGILL
INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF
CANADA.
SO, I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT WHAT
YOUR UNDERSTANDING IN 2021 OF
CANADA IS.
ARE WE STILL A COUNTRY SEEN BY
THE MAJORITY OF PEOPLE AS A
COUNTRY OF TWO FOUNDING PEOPLES?

Daniel says, WELL, THIS
NARRATIVE OF TWO FOUNDING
PEOPLES IS BEING CHALLENGED BY
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, FOR EXAMPLE,
AND SO, I THINK THERE IS A DEBATE ABOUT THAT
GOING ON IN THE COUNTRY.
WE DIDN'T TALK ABOUT INDIGENOUS
PEOPLES THAT MUCH LAST NIGHT.
I HOPE THIS WILL BE DIFFERENT OF COURSE IN
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE DEBATE.
I THINK THAT STEPHANIE IS RIGHT
OF COURSE,
SUPPORT FOR SOVEREIGNTY IN
QUEBEC IS QUITE LOW RIGHT NOW,
ESPECIALLY AMONG YOUNGER PEOPLE.
BUT THERE IS STILL THIS IDEA OF
TWO SOLITUDES.
A LOT OF QUEBECERS DON'T KNOW
THAT MUCH ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENING
IN OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY,
LIKE IN ALBERTA, FOR EXAMPLE.
WHEN I LIVED IN CALGARY, A
JOURNALIST FROM LA PRESSE VISITED
ME AND SHE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT
THE NATIONAL ENERGY PROGRAM, FOR
EXAMPLE, WHICH IS A PRETTY BIG
THING FOR PEOPLE IN ALBERTA.
SO I THNK, PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF QUEBEC,
MAYBE IT'S NOT AS MUCH THE CASE
IN ONTARIO BECAUSE WE ARE
NEIGHBOURS, BUT, YOU KNOW, WHEN
I LIVED IN SASKATCHEWAN OR
ALBERTA, MANY PEOPLE HAD NEVER
BEEN TO QUEBEC AND HAD A PRETTY
LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT
THE PROVINCE IS BEYOND THINGS
LIKE POUTINE AND RENE LEVESQUE
AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
SO, I THINK, IT'S BIG COUNTRY, IT'S A
FRAGMENTED COUNTRY IN MANY WAYS.
WHAT WE DO AT OUR INSTITUTE IS
TO TRY TO ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE
FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS IN THE
COUNTRY UNDERSTAND WHAT'S
HAPPENING IN OTHER PROVINCES AND
THAT'S PART OF AN IMPORTANT
DIALOGUE WE NEED TO HAVE.

Steve says, STEPHANIE, LAST WORD
TO YOU ON THAT.
ARE WE STILL A COUNTRY OF TWO
FOUNDING NATIONS?

Stephanie says, I
THINK DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE
CONSERVATIVES HAVE BEEN PLAYING
THIS RHETORIC SINCE ERIN O'TOOLE
HAS BECOME LEADER, CLEARLY IN A
WAY TO TRY TO SEDUCE THE QUEBEC
NATIONALIST VOTE, THE IDEA OF
TWO FOUNDING PEOPLES IS -- IT'S
SHOWING ITS AGE AT THIS POINT.
YOU KNOW, IT IS QUITE IMPORTANT
FOR A VAST PART OF THE CANADIAN
ELECTORATE TODAY TO GIVE
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES A BIGGER
SPACE AND TO SEE WITHIN OUR
INSTITUTIONS HOW WE CAN BRING
THEM IN AND ALSO TO SEE HOW OUR
INSTITUTIONS NEED TO ADAPT TO
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES' VIEWPOINTS.
SO, I THINK TWO FOUNDING PEOPLES
IS NOT REALLY THE WAY THAT WE
SHOULD THINK ABOUT OUR COUNTRY
IN 2021.

Steve says (partially in French), VERY INTERESTING.
STEPHANIE CHOUINARD, QUEEN'S
UNIVERSITY AND RMC, DANIEL
BELAND, MCGILL'S
INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF
CANADA. IT'S A GREAT PLEASURE TO
HAVE YOU BOTH HERE AT TVO.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
GOOD LUCK.

Daniel and Stephanie say, MERCI.

Text reads, Produced by Wodek Szemberg @wodekszemberg

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