By Geoffrey Chambers
Monday’s first-ever English-language televised leader’s debate was a watershed moment and evidence of a heightened willingness across Quebec’s political class to reach out to English-speaking Quebecers in their own language. It also signalled acknowledgement by all parties that none can afford to ignore our community of more than one million.
The Parti Québécois promise of no referendum in a first mandate is openly linked to a policy agenda geared to achieving sovereignty within the decade. There is also a progressive but unrestrainedly sovereigntist Québec solidaire electoral pitch. The Coalition Avenir Québec platform has core education and immigration planks that are not tuned to the needs of our community.
Over the second half of his mandate, Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard began to respond to long-held demands of many English-speaking organizations, including the Quebec Community Groups Network. Last November, his government launched a Secretariat for Relations with English-Speaking Quebecers, an entity we are pleased to note the leaders of all four main parties have pledged to maintain.