Quebec election, Sept. 19: ‘Diverse’ Montreal comedians plan to skewer politicians in Friday show – Montreal Gazette

François Legault promises to give universities $40 million to study Quebec.
Updated throughout the day on Monday, Sept. 19. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com

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That’s it for today.

I’ll be back tomorrow morning with another live blog.

In the meantime, you can read our election coverage at montrealgazette.com.

A bilingual comedy show titled “Suck my CAQ” is scheduled to take place Friday, Sept. 23, featuring Franco Taddeo, David Pryde, Emile Khoury, Bruno Ly, Reginald St-Eloy and Carly Baker.

On Facebook, promoters noted the show will be “more diverse than our politicians.”

“Join us for one night only (the week before the Quebec election) as these insanely funny comics air their grievances, and get you laughing! P.S. this is a safe space.”

Taddeo told The Suburban: “As comics, it’s our role is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted, and it’s the feeling that we belong, many of us have made the decision to stay here because we were able to work here and live here, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be enough.”

“You have the National Assembly that passed, with unanimous consent, condemning Bonjour-Hi, a simple private greeting between people, but on the ground, we’re functionally bilingual and multicultural and it works. In the National Assembly, there are people who feel it’s a threat, so our job is to make fun of them…”

The show will take place at the Salle de Reception Le Classique in St-Léonard. Tickets are $42.

⚡️NEW SHOW. NEW VENUE. NEW CONCEPT.⚡️ A comedy show more diverse than our politicians. Join us for one night only…

“There are always hiccups at the start of any new school year, but in coinciding with the Quebec election, continuing and worsening problems are brought into sharper focus.

“It’s hard not to see a major disconnect between the realities in the province’s crumbling schools and the shiny promises being made by leaders on the campaign trail.”

Read Allison Hanes’ latest column.

François Legault says universities should be spending more time studying Quebec.

At a Longueuil press conference, he announced that a reelected Coalition Avenir Québec government would invest $40 million over three years to set up 20 university research chairs.

He said an independent committee will make decisions about the chairs, which would oversee research into Quebec’s history, economy, education system, environment, health network and “the preservation of our language.”

The CAQ leader said: “We’re a nation that is surrounded by 300 million anglophones – protecting French will always be a challenge.”

Legault said English-language post-secondary institutions should play a role in studying Quebec.

“I think it’s important that universities like McGill or Concordia study… what’s happening with the economy, culture, social issues, language,” Legault said.

He added: “It’s not only (about) language – it’s for many subjects. It’s important to know where we’ve come from to make better choices for the future.”

Early in the campaign, François Legault ordered his Coalition Avenir Québec to erase most of the English from the party’s site, saying it had been posted in error.

Québec solidaire is going in the opposite direction – it’s adding languages. In addition to French and English, its website now includes election promises in seven Indigenous languages, including Abenaki, Inuktitut and Mohawk, the party announced today.

Consultez nos engagements en 7 langues autochtones : https://t.co/T6ZfjXDgYo

Québec solidaire is vowing to bring in a law that would help cut food waste in Quebec by 50 per cent by 2030.

A QS government would compel food companies to give unsold food to food banks or to community organizations.

S’occuper de l’environnement, c’est aussi lutter contre le gaspillage alimentaire.

Québec solidaire va adopter une loi pour le réduire au Québec. 🥦🍅🧡

Appuyez notre proposition : https://t.co/dCcAXbM9DH #polqc #qc2022 pic.twitter.com/RrzWECkGiI

This morning, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade announced a series of promises to help seniors.

The party is proposing to:

Anglade said the Liberals would also give priority to seniors when it comes to access to family doctors

Au Québec, la seule chose qui n’augmente pas, c’est le revenu des aînés. C’est pourquoi nous annonçons notre plan…

The $500 cheques issued by the Legault government to Quebecers to lessen the impact of inflation have already gone “into the pockets of the oil companies,” Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said on Monday as he proposed a 25 per cent tax on “surplus profits” of the petroleum industry.

Read our full story.

Oui, c’est possibe de taxer les surprofits des pétrolières sans pénaliser les Québécois à la pompe. https://t.co/QGm703QHWM #quebec2022 #PQ2022 #polqc https://t.co/wUT4pVGDOU

Most aren’t old enough to vote in the Oct. 3 election, but on Tuesday afternoon, English Montreal School Board students will have a front-row seat.

The EMSB is organizing a bilingual “virtual information session” that will be streamed live into elementary and high school classrooms across the board.

Students will be able to ask questions via a chat function during the event, which will be streamed live on the EMSB’s YouTube channel beginning at 1 p.m.

The session will be co-moderated by EMSB Chair Joe Ortona and Liana Wallace, a Grade 11 student at Lester B. Pearson High School.

The board says these candidates have confirmed their attendance:

The Parti Québécois will also send a candidate.

EMSB spokesperson Mike Cohen said the Coalition Avenir Québec promised to respond to an invitation but did not do so.

During the election campaign, the EMSB – with 37,000 students, the largest board serving Quebec’s English-speaking community – is pressing political parties on several issues, including Bill 96, Bill 21, teacher shortages and air quality in schools.

Join us tomorrow at 1 PM as, in advance of the upcoming provincial election, representatives from Quebec’s major…

Like many Quebecers, voters in east-end Montreal’s Anjou–Louis-Riel riding have inflation on their minds. Whether the topic turns into a ballot-box issue on Oct. 3 remains to be seen.

“Obviously inflation is a concern, but we live in a global context,” Martinique native and Anjou resident Jean-Claude Doppia said while shopping at the Halles d’Anjou produce market.

“When you think about it, the impact that a provincial government can have on the cost of living is really very limited. That’s why I’ve not even looked at the party platforms. Every party is going to make promises. That’s what they do.”

Read our full story, by Frédéric Tomesco.

The Liberal party has been the slowest to fill its candidate roster and now that the nomination deadline has passed, the party has only 124 hopefuls, one short of the maximum.

At a press conference today, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said it appears the only problem was the lack of a set of initials on the nomination papers of one candidate.

Over the weekend, the party said it would contest Elections Quebec’s decision to reject the nomination of Matane-Matapédia candidate Harley Lounsbury.

Normally, parties jockey for first place.

But with François Legault and his Coalition Avenir Québec still riding high in the polls, other parties are arguing over which one is his main opponent.

In Thursday’s debate and in the days since, Legault has targetted Québec solidaire and its co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois (GND).

Legault has said it’s a two-way race between the CAQ and QS.

In the wake of the debate, Legault’s party took the unusual step of plastering some Montreal ridings with leaflets using the orange and green campaign colours of QS.

The leaflets accused QS of “always taking more money from middle-class wallets” with its “orange tax.”

Éric Duhaime of the Conservative insists “the real adversary of the CAQ is the Conservative Party of Quebec.”

Speaking to reporters this morning in Quebec City, Duhaime said Legault is pretending QS is his main opponent because “he knows that they’re the weakest, they would be the easiest for him to beat, because they’re the most radical, and it’s easiest to demolish their ideas.”

He said Legault is spooked by the big rally his party held in Quebec City on Friday.

“He saw the 3,000 people in the Centre Vidéotron. I can tell you that in the Quebec City region, the CAQ candidates aren’t very afraid of Québec solidaire opponents right now.”

Duhaime noted Legault is spending a lot of time campaigning in ridings where the Conservatives and the CAQ are neck and neck.

“Only the Conservative Party of Quebec is preparing to dislodge the CAQ from its former strongholds,” he said. “Mr. Legault and GND have been walking hand in hand for two and a half years.”

Meanwhile, Yves-François Blanchet, leader of the Bloc Québécois, the Parti Québécois’ sister party on the federal scene, says the PQ is the only real threat to the CAQ.

Campaigning with the PQ in Baie-Comeau yesterday, Blanchet fired shots at Québec solidaire and CAQ leaders.

“Gabriel (Nadeau-Dubois) and François (Legault), it’s starting to become cute. Who is the least dangerous leader for François Legault? It’s Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.”

Despite her party’s low status in the polls, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade this morning insisted her party still has a chance of winning power.

“Don’t underestimate the Liberals,” she said.

Asked if she will remain as the Liberal leader if the party fares poorly on Oct. 3, Anglade added: “My intention is to campaign to replace Mr. Legault.”

She said she intends to stay on as the leader no matter what happens in the election.

At a press conference in Quebec City this morning, Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime said he has filed access-to-information requests.

He said he wants to obtain any and all studies Transport Quebec has conducted on a possible third link between Quebec City and Lévis, as well as recent reports about the state of the Pierre-Laporte Bridge.

Point de presse : où sont les études ? https://t.co/N5t7kWWtiI

Coalition Avenir Québec candidates are by far the most likely to refuse to take part in local and regional debates, according to a tally by Radio-Canada.

That’s because CAQ candidates “lack courage” and are also being “muzzled” by the party, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade told reporters Monday morning.

“They’re afraid to debate, they’re afraid to defend their record,” she said. “And if I was in their place, I would be, too. But I would still go to the front.”

Watch her press conference:

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is hoping for a strike today.

One of his campaign events is a 3:30 p.m. game of bowling in Baie-Comeau with Jeff Dufour Tremblay, the PQ candidate in René-Lévesque riding.

Driving down Fredmir and saw this electoral sign on fire. Called the police and fire department immediately. Stay alert, extremely dangerous, I really hope it’s one incident and not a trend to come.

From The Canadian Press:

The head of a major employers’ group in Quebec says an election campaign is not the time to have a serious discussion about immigration.

Campaign slogans and political messages aren’t suited for rational conversations about how newcomers contribute positively to the economy, Karl Blackburn, president and CEO of the Conseil du patronat du Québec, said in a recent interview.

“And we are very much aware that these are sensitive issues, particularly around language,” Blackburn said.

But three weeks in, party leaders have not shied away from putting immigration front and centre in the Quebec campaign. The debate has so far been superficial, focused on numbers — parties have been accused of “one-upping” each other with immigration targets — and the ambiguous concept of the province’s “capacity to integrate” newcomers.

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault clumsily tied immigration to “violence” and “extremism” — comments he walked back — and days later he told a campaign crowd that non-French-speaking immigration is a threat to “national cohesion” in the province. During Thursday night’s leaders debate, Legault warned that if Quebec doesn’t gain more powers over immigration, it could end up like Sweden, which is struggling with a crime wave linked to immigration.

Blackburn, meanwhile, says Quebec has the capacity — and desperately needs — to accept up to 100,000 immigrants a year in order to address labour shortages that are negatively affecting the quality, price and availability of goods and services across Quebec. That number is a non-starter for Legault, whose party has a commanding lead in the polls and who wants to keep the level of immigrants at 50,000 per year — the maximum, he says, that Quebec can integrate properly and teach French.

Political scientists and economists, however, say there isn’t any research that offers definitive answers to the question of how many immigrants a society — including Quebec — can welcome.

For Pierre Fortin, professor emeritus of economics at Université du Québec a Montréal, Blackburn’s number is “wacky” and would bring “administrative chaos” to society. Increasing immigration levels to more than 80,000 a year, he said, risks creating “xenophobia and racism” toward immigrants and pushing voters into the arms of people who would drastically cut the number of newcomers to the province.

But Mireille Paquet, political science professor at Concordia University, strongly challenged that theory, adding that the research is inconclusive.

“What we know for sure,” she said, “is that what causes the backlash (against immigrants) is not, per se, the number of immigrants but feelings of insecurity in the non-immigrant population, and that feeling can be brought up by public policies, such as cutting social services … it’s something politicians can address,” she said in a recent interview.

Paquet said the idea that there is a limited “capacity to integrate” is often touted by restrictionists and people on the right as a reason to curtail immigration. The debate, she said, should not be around the rate of arrival or the number of annual immigrants, but on what the government is going to do to ease feelings of insecurity in the local population.

“It also depends on what is our expectation of integration,” she said. “What is good integration? That has changed over time, and that will continue to change.”

The debate over immigration during the election campaign has also focused on whether more newcomers would help solve the labour shortages plaguing the province.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon says it won’t, and he is promising to cut immigration to 35,000 a year and only accept people who already speak French. The Liberals’ number is 70,000 newcomers a year, and Québec solidaire says it wants to accept up to 80,000 immigrants a year in order to have enough people to help build its ambitious climate change projects.

Fortin is adamant that immigrants do not address labour shortages but could even exacerbate them. Even if a company solves its labour problems by hiring foreigners, he said, those newcomers will be looking to spend money, consume services and products, seek health care, and enrol their children in school.

That extra spending creates demand and requires more production from Quebec companies, Fortin said. “You solve a shortage in one area and it reappears in another.”

His solution, however, is not politically palatable — especially during an election campaign. The only way to solve labour shortages, he said, is to increase unemployment.

Blackburn, for his part, is calling on whichever party wins on Oct. 3 to convene a forum with stakeholders to discuss — in a calm, factual and rational way — the best way to address the labour shortages that he says are causing billions in dollars of losses to companies across the province.

“We should not see immigrants as consumers of public services,” Blackburn said. “They are here to contribute to the economic vitality of Quebec.”

Mobilité réduite : vérifiez en ligne si votre lieu de vote le jour de l’élection est accessible. https://t.co/cxIRTgJ1zB #qc2022 #polqc

Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade said on Monday she intends to stay on as party leader no matter what the outcome of the Oct. 3 general election.

Read our full story.

Verdun’s Wellington St. being voted the coolest street in the world by Time Out readers last month may have made some Montrealers proud, but for others, it was just another sign the historically working-class neighbourhood is changing.
Read our full story, by Katelyn Thomas.

It was a warm homecoming for Éric Duhaime.

After a week in Montreal, where he was dogged by questions about his personal financial mismanagement, the leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec returned to less hostile territory in Quebec City this weekend, getting to sleep a few nights in his own bed.

Read our full story, by Jason Magder.

Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault faced criticism from his political rivals over the weekend after he said members of an Indigenous community want to reopen a semantic debate rather than fix racism problems at a nearby hospital.

Legault’s Saturday remarks came after members of the Atikamekw community reproached the incumbent premier for saying that racism problems have been solved at the Joliette, Que. hospital where Joyce Echaquan, an Atikamekw woman, filmed nurses mocking her as she lay dying.

Read our full story.

As the head of a Liberal Party trailing badly in the polls, Dominique Anglade has an arduous, some would say insurmountable, hill to climb.

Anglade seems unfazed. The child of Haitian intellectuals descended from a long line of politicians, she spent her formative teenage years there, learning the true worth of democracy.

At 17 she set out on her own, returning to Montreal to study engineering. A few years later she was voted president of student council at Polytechnique Montréal, the Université de Montréal’s engineering school, responsible for 3,000 students, six vice-presidents and a staff of three.

Read our full story, by René Bruemmer.

Here’s a look at the five parties vying to form Quebec’s next government.

Read our full story.

How do you check if you’re on the electoral list? Are you allowed to vote? When can ballots be cast?

Read our full story.

Follow all the action along Quebec’s 2022 provincial election campaign trail with coverage and analysis from the experts at the Montreal Gazette.

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ariga@postmedia.com

Read my previous live blogs here.

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