Politics

Quebec election, Sept. 20: Legault apologizes again, this time over comments about racism against Indigenous people


Now tied for 2nd place, Conservatives have “momentum,” Éric Duhaime says.

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Updated throughout the day on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Questions/comments: ariga@postmedia.com

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Top updates

  • ‘Where is the humanity?’ – Anglade on Legault’s failure to meet with Joyce Echaquan’s husband
  • Opinion: Quebec election has profound implications for the rest of Canada
  • CAQ promises one-stop ‘Clic École’ website for parents with schoolchildren
  • Video: EMSB holds election town hall
  • We could win a referendum on Quebec sovereignty, PQ leader says
  • Lettuce, deodorant, running shoes: Nadeau-Dubois says he would help Quebecers hurt by inflation
  • Pundits think Conservative supporters are ‘less intelligent,’ party says
  • Voter turnout: ‘Non-influencers’ weigh in
  • Québec solidaire pledges to reduce public transit fares by 50%
  • Quebec election campaign is ignoring education, union says
  • Legault apologizes again, this time over comments about racism against Indigenous people
  • Québec solidaire vows to slash transit fares
  • New poll contains positive signs for Parti Québécois
  • ‘We have to block Legault,’ Anglade says as CAQ poised for crushing win
  • Now tied for 2nd place, Conservatives have ‘momentum,’ Duhaime says
  • Leaders debate did little to budge needle on support: survey
  • Québec solidaire defends urging students to change ridings to vote
  • Final say on $6.5B Quebec City-Lévis tunnel will be ‘political decision,’ Legault insists
  • Election Guide: What you need to know about the campaign and voting
  • Sign up for our free Quebec election newsletter

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4 p.m.

Thanks for reading

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.


3:40 p.m.

‘Where is the humanity?’ – Anglade on Legault’s failure to meet with Joyce Echaquan’s husband

Quebec Liberal Party leader Dominique Anglade today was asked about François Legault’s apology over his comments regarding Carol Dubé, Joyce Echaquan’s husband, colleague Jesse Feith reports. (See item below, timestamped 12:10 p.m.)

Anglade said she was baffled and “extremely shocked” to learn Legault had never met with Dubé.

“The fact that you don’t even take the time to have this conversation with Carol Dubé is out of this world, honestly. I just could not believe what I was reading,” Anglade said during a news conference.

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“Where is the humanity?” she added. “That’s the basis of everything.”


3:30 p.m.

Opinion: Quebec election has profound implications for the rest of Canada

“On Oct. 3, voters there go to the polls in a race that at first blush might seem to be a sleeper. That’s because no one doubts it will be won by the governing party, Premier François Legault’s Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ).

“But the rest of Canada should pay attention, because the outcome in Quebec will matter on a number of fronts, including the outcome of the next federal election.”

Read Tasha Kheiriddin’s latest column.


2:45 p.m.

CAQ promises one-stop ‘Clic École’ website for parents with schoolchildren

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1:55 p.m.

Video: EMSB holds election town hall

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

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1:55 p.m.

We could win a referendum on Quebec sovereignty, PQ leader says

A winning referendum on Quebec sovereignty is still possible, Parti Québecois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said on Tuesday.

Read our full story.

Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon addresses a luncheon at the Quebec Union of Municipalities convention in Montreal Sept. 16, 2022.
Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon addresses a luncheon at the Quebec Union of Municipalities convention in Montreal Sept. 16, 2022. Photo by Paul Chiasson /The Canadian Press

1:50 p.m.

Lettuce, deodorant, running shoes: Nadeau-Dubois says he would help Quebecers hurt by inflation

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1:40 p.m.

Pundits think Conservative supporters are ‘less intelligent,’ party says

In a Facebook post this afternoon, the Conservatives are encouraging supporters to cast ballots during the advance voting period, which begins Friday.

“‘Analysts’ in the media and opinion poll ‘experts’ say the same thing: Supporters of the Conservative Party of Quebec and Éric Duhaime will not go out to vote,” the post begins.

“They have… implied that we are less intelligent than them and look down on us every chance they get.

“It’s simple, they think you’re not bright enough to vote.

“François Legault is counting on you staying home on election day so he can hold on to power

“We can’t let them do this. We won’t let them.”

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1:20 p.m.

Voter turnout: ‘Non-influencers’ weigh in

Elections Quebec has tapped “non-influencers” for two new ads aimed at raising Quebec’s voter turnout rate.

The French one is below. Because of how it was posted, I can’t embed the English version, but you can watch it here on YouTube.

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1:05 p.m.

Québec solidaire pledges to reduce public transit fares by 50%

Québec solidaire is reviving its pledge to slash public transit fares by half should it form Quebec’s next government.

Read our full story.

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12:50 p.m.

Quebec election campaign is ignoring education, union says

Quebec’s Fédération autonome de l’enseignement has added its voice to growing wave of protest over what is perceived to be the absence of the issue of education from the provincial election campaign.

Read our full story.


12:10 p.m.

Legault apologizes again, this time over comments about racism against Indigenous people

For the second time in as many weeks, François Legault has felt the need to apologize for comments he has made.

Two weeks ago, he expressed regret after appearing to link immigrants with violence and extremism, sparking an uproar.

Today, he apologized to Joyce Echaquan’s husband.

Echaquan is the 37-year-old Atikamekw woman who in 2020 took to Facebook Live to broadcast her shocking final moments in a Joliette hospital as staff tormented her with insults and mockery.

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During last week’s televised leaders’ debate, Legault said: “In Joliette, (the problem) is solved. I just spoke to her husband. It is settled.”

Echaquan’s husband, Carol Dubé, has said he was shocked by Legault’s comments.

Dubé said despite appeals for an official meeting with Legault, none has taken place. Dubé said he only met Legault once, by chance, during the pope’s recent visit to Canada.

During his opening remarks at a press conference in Orford this morning, Legault brought up Dubé.

“What you lived through, you and your family, it’s dramatic, it’s a great sadness, to lose a spouse, to lose the mother of your children,” Legault said.

“Last week during the debate, I hurt you and I sincerely apologize and I hope that after the elections I can meet with you because I can imagine how hard it can be to live through what you lived through.”

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Legault said the message he was trying to convey during the debate was that the CAQ is committed to fighting racism against Indigenous communities in the health care system.

He said his CAQ government has worked hard to fix the problem, particularly in Joliette, by training health network staff and hiring “liaison agents” to work with Indigenous patients.

A reporter asked Legault if the latest controversy shows that he doesn’t understand issues affecting Indigenous people.

In his response, he backtracked on his debate assertion that the situation in Joliette was “settled.”

Today, he said: “I think the situation has much improved in Joliette and everybody should recognize that.”

Legault added: “There are racist people in Quebec, particularly against Indigenous communities, and we must fight that, we must not accept that.”

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On the fact that this is his second apology of the campaign, he said: “It’s a delicate subject. I’m a guy who is rather direct, and sometimes comments can be misinterpreted.”

Legault then brought up Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade, suggesting she is “very negative.”

The CAQ leader’s debate comments did not sit well with the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan and the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw.

In a joint statement last week, the organizations said Legault implied that “for him, the tragic death of Joyce Echaquan was a thing of the past and that now everything was perfect. As long as the government covers the reality with a party line, similar events are likely to repeat themselves and complaints will continue to be reported to us.”

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The organizations said Indigenous people “continue to experience the reality of cognitive biases that have fueled prejudices and stereotypes for several decades. Our members still suffer from the daily fear of being treated differently and not Mr. Legault, the problem is far from being solved.”

Watch the press conference:

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

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11:05 a.m.

Quebecers split on third roadway connecting Quebec City and Lévis, poll suggests

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10:40 a.m.

New poll contains positive signs for Parti Québécois

Voting intentions have not changed much since last week’s debate, with the Coalition Avenir Québec’s strong lead holding, a new poll suggests.

But the poll featured positive signs for Parti Québécois Leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon despite the fact that his party is in last place.

Support for the CAQ was unchanged at 38 per cent, according to the Léger survey, conducted Sept. 16-18 for Québecor media outlets.

Three parties – the Conservatives, Liberals and Québec solidaire – are tied for second at 16 per cent, with the PQ last at 13 per cent.

Liberal support fell by two percentage points, while QS saw a drop of one point. Support rose for the PQ (up two points) and the Conservatives (up one point).

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Other polls have shown the CAQ’s support is widespread, while support for other parties is primarily concentrated in certain parts of Quebec – Conservatives in Quebec City, Liberals in Montreal, the PQ in eastern Quebec and Québec solidaire in urban areas.

Respondents were asked which party is their second choice. The top choice: the PQ at 22 per cent. That’s a rise of four percentage points compared to the beginning of the campaign.

One-third of voters told Léger that they could change their vote.

Among other parties, second-choice support did not change much.

St-Pierre Plamondon also fared better than other leaders when it came to the debate.

Twenty-eight per cent of respondents said he exceeded their expectations, the best showing. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of Québec solidaire was second at 22 per cent.

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Some other questions from the poll:

  • Who has conducted the best election campaign so far? Tied for first are St-Pierre Plamondon (16 per cent), Nadeau-Dubois (16 per cent) and François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec (16 per cent). They were followed by Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime (13 per cent), and Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade (six per cent)
  • Who won the debate? Nadeau-Dubois (18 per cent) and St-Pierre Plamondon (16 per cent), Duhaime (10 per cent), Legault (9 per cent) and Anglade (three per cent)
  • Favourite opposition leader? Nadeau-Dubois (28 per cent), St-Pierre Plamondon (21 per cent), Duhaime (15 per cent) and Anglade (14 per cent).

Full poll results are available on the Léger site.


10:30 a.m.

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‘We have to block Legault,’ Anglade says as CAQ poised for crushing win

Quebec Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade used a radio interview on Tuesday morning to send a message to party supporters: “We have to wake up! … We need to come together to block François Legault.”

Read our full story.


10:15 a.m.

Now tied for 2nd place, Conservatives have ‘momentum,’ Duhaime says

Conservative Leader Éric Duhaime says he’s buoyed by a poll published today, saying it shows the party has momentum.

He was commenting on the latest Léger poll, which pegs Conservative support at 15 per cent.

That’s the highest level of support ever for the party in a Léger survey, Léger said. It’s also the first time the Conservatives are in second place (tied with the Liberals and Québec solidaire).

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Duhaime was asked about the latest poll and whether the party support could be thinly spread, leading to few if any seats on Oct. 3. That’s what seat-projection sites such as Qc125.com are showing.

In response, the Conservative leader said it’s difficult for pollsters to estimate how support for his party will translate into seats on election day. He said that’s because they have little to base projections on since the party has never polled this well.

“Getting the vote out will be important,” Duhaime said. “That’s why in every speech I remind Conservatives to get out and vote.”

Duhaime was asked whether his rising fortunes will lead to a change in strategy for Thursday’s leaders’ debate.

“I don’t think I’m going to change my strategy based on polls,” he responded.

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“What’s important is that I see is that we have made progress, we have momentum.”

Yesterday, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade said François Legault of the Coalition Avenir Québec “seems to dislike immigrants.”

Asked about Anglade’s comment, Duhaime said he would not go that far.

But, Duhaime said, Legault has made ambiguous statements about immigration.

“He has had many relapses (on the issue) over the past few weeks. You have to ask yourself, can someone put their foot in their mouth that often, always on the same subject?”

He said Legault also made controversial statements about immigration during the 2018 campaign.

“Mr. Legault has difficulty expressing his ideas on the subject of immigration.”

Duhaime was speaking at a press conference in Saint-Georges in the Beauce region.

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Watch the press conference:

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8:35 a.m.

Leaders debate did little to budge needle on support: survey

Last Thursday’s leaders debate on the TVA news network did little to change the level of support for the five parties battling each other in the Quebec election campaign, a new survey suggests.

Read our full story.


8:35 a.m.

Québec solidaire defends urging students to change ridings to vote

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois found himself once again having to defend initiatives of Québec solidaire to encourage students to change their addresses, a day after a message from the party’s candidate in Rimouski.

Read our full story.


8:35 a.m.

Final say on $6.5B Quebec City-Lévis tunnel will be ‘political decision,’ Legault insists

François Legault says his promised $6.5-billion Quebec City tunnel project will go ahead regardless of what the studies say, because it is a “political” decision. His comments were responding to Éric Duhaime’s charge that Legault has “politicized” the transport ministry.

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Read our full story.


8:35 a.m.

François Legault to visit riding where CAQ candidate was threatened

Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault is visiting a riding in Quebec’s Eastern Townships where his candidate was allegedly threatened.

Read our full story.


8:30 a.m.

What are the five major parties taking part in Quebec’s provincial election?

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

Read our full story.


8:30 a.m.

Election Guide: What you need to know about the campaign and voting

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.


8:30 a.m.

Sign up for our free Quebec election newsletter

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

Delivered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 7 p.m.

You can sign up here.


ariga@postmedia.com

Read my previous live blogs here.


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