Radio-Canada's regional debate analyzed by four columnists | Elections Quebec 2022

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The Radio-Canada regional debate analyzed by four columnists | ÉQuebec 2022 elections

The Radio-Canada regional debate was hosted by Jean-François Coulombe and brought together candidates Tommy Pageau, Andrée Laforest, Caroline Dubé and Adrien Guibert-Barthez.

Following the regional debate presented by Radio-Canada Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean on Wednesday, four columnists from the programs Place publique and C'est never the same, on ICI Première, analyze the exchanges between the four candidates present.

For an hour, Caroline Dubé (Parti québécois, Jonquière), Andrée Laforest (Coalition avenir Quebec, Chicoutimi), Tommy Pageau (Conservative Party of Quebec, Dubuc) and Adrien Guibert-Barthez (Québec solidaire, Chicoutimi) clashed under the supervision of host Jean-François Coulombe.

The parties each had to delegate a candidate of their choice, regardless of the constituency in the region. Initially, the Quebec Liberal Party (PLQ) opted for Tricia Murray, in Lac-Saint-Jean, but she was hit by COVID-19 and the party was unable to delegate anyone else.

Here are the analyzes written by our four columnists, Isabel Brochu, Marc St-Hilaire, Josée Bouchard and Denis Bouchard.

Isabel Brochu

Isabel Brochu, development consultant and columnist at C'est never the same

Let's put aside the topics that are already widely discussed in this national campaign: labor shortages, immigration, inflation. Finally, we pronounce the word culture! Regional culture in addition. And we can see to what extent the candidates are less comfortable in discussions on this subject. From culture with a capital C, to Pat'Patrouille, religious heritage and facilities, culture in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean is less understood. However, we control this development lever that creates wealth and jobs.

Pleasant surprise coming from Caroline Dubé on the importance of bringing back the place of civil society in regional consultation when, precisely, the undemocratic Regional Table of Elected Officials announced on Tuesday the same old regional demands to candidates. When Andrée Laforest talks about consultation, she names elected officials and companies. There is, perhaps, an explanatory factor for the regional inertia in the face of current issues.

Moreover, during discussions on regional economic dependence, it is difficult to leave the classics.

Be careful with Rio Tinto, balance between economy and environment, keep jobs. Tommy Pageau and Andrée Laforest are still talking about the Arianne Phosphate and Métaux BlackRock projects! Batteries and green aluminum, of course. Fortunately, Adrien Guibert-Barthez talks about agri-food and Caroline Dubé reminds us that social and health services are also job creators in the regions.

“Looking at this debate, we can see to what extent Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean would gain in democracy with the election of candidates from different parties, especially from the QS and the PQ, and not just from the CAQ, as the polls indicate. »

Québec solidaire's environmental platform is essential and we need it. The Conservative Party of Quebec would not contribute anything more since, in the end, the private sector and the destruction of the public system, already badly damaged, is a common denominator of the Coalition avenir Québec and the PCQ. The latter is just a bit more transparent. But Pierre Fitzgibbon would feel perfectly at ease at the PCQ.

Marc St-Hilaire

Marc St-Hilaire, general manager of the Le Quotidien cooperative and columnist for C'est ever the same

Who will invent a formula other than debates to achieve the real objective of an electoral campaign: to make people think, then to encourage the vote? Because there, there are questions to be asked…

This regional debate was on the mark: well paced, well supervised by Jean-François Coulombe, obviously well tied up upstream by everyone who contributed to this project. The participants were also well prepared, no doubt.

“But the fact remains that in the end, we feel like we have experienced Groundhog Day. »

And once again, at the risk of repeating ourselves, it is the national issues that have eclipsed the needs, however urgent, of our region of Saguenay-Lac- Saint Jean. They are however abundant: the announced death of villages which depend on the forestry industry, the deficit of political weight which is growing visibly, the remoteness of major centers and of decision-making power.

We could easily have written the story before it was expressed before our eyes: Andrée Laforest reassured her electoral base by recalling what the CAQ is, what it has done and what it intends to do. She was sober, calm, but very good in her role as an experienced incumbent. She does not come out of this debate damaged and that was exactly the objective sought.

That said, am I the only one scratching my head during every debate thinking that Québec solidaire and the Parti Québécois look like a dysfunctional couple? Two lovers who strive to say the same thing with different terms? A local debate exacerbates this impression, in my opinion. And that's a shame, because Adrien Guibert-Barthez and Caroline Dubé have so much potential; so many skills to share their vision. They are young, well-articulated, intelligent… But divided, they let the CAQ reign. We should talk to their bosses.

As for Tommy Pageau of the Conservative Party, his performance would undoubtedly have been more brilliant without the limits of his model. In summary, he scores one point and then loses two with his party line… It was he who reminded us that we have nothing to gain by electing five CAQ members in the region. On the other hand, it was also he who brought back the valorization of religious objects and this eternal hunt for civil servants. One minus two equals negative one (1-2 = -1). The numbers don't lie…

Josée Bouchard

Josée Bouchard, former president of the School Board Federation du Québec and columnist for Place publique

If you are an informed person, you have not been fed this evening by new elements stuck to our regional reality. Aside from mentioning the economic sectors that characterize our region, namely aluminum, forestry and agri-food, the debate frankly lacked concrete illustrations of the problems experienced here.

Who won? Two candidates stood out in my opinion: Andrée Laforest of the Coalition avenir Québec and Adrien Guibert-Barthez of Québec solidaire. Mrs. Laforest succeeded in highlighting the achievements of her government despite the group fire, unlike her leader who rather failed in this regard during the debate presented on TVA last week. Adrien Guibert-Barthez appeared to me to be in control of the files, calm and an excellent tribune. In different visions and registers, the two candidates skilfully exposed their points of view.

At variable speed, the environmental shift is clearly at the heart of each party's priorities. We rely on renewable energy. We understand that the climate emergency has sounded. It's encouraging! This theme transcended almost all the topics discussed and was expressed through the concern to transform the resources at the base of the economy that traditionally characterizes us, namely aluminum and wood.

Health and education, the two most important budgets in Quebec (the third being debt service) were little discussed in this hour which flew by at full speed due to the number of questions (requiring answers that were too brief), even though training was said to be a solution to the labor shortage. We've been hearing that for years…

Last remark as a Jeannoise. The absence of a candidate from Lac-Saint-Jean is absolutely distressing. Yes, I know…COVID, but that considerably reduced the opportunities to assert this territory which was to contribute largely to the title of the announced debate.

Denis Bouchard

Denis Bouchard, former Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of Daily newspaper/Le Progrès and columnist at C'est Never Same

Candidates ready to do battle, not hesitating to attack, well prepared, held in suspense by a very steady pace, who have all had their good and less good times, this is what to remember from the Radio debate -Canada Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Thursday evening.

The four candidates, Andrée Laforest, Tommy Pageau, Caroline Dubé and Adrien Guilbert-Barthez put, for the occasion, their boxing gloves, without neglecting the content.

However, none managed to bend an opponent's knees. Target of all, Andrée Laforest kept them at a distance by reciting the elements of the party program and counter-attacking cheerfully. Tommy Pageau was the most offensive, accusing the CAQ of letting seniors die during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Caroline Dubé, who was on the attack at the start, lost her rhythm at times.

Ranging from national themes to local issues, the debate served to reaffirm the positions of the parties present, opposing the notions of a more interventionist state (QS and PQ) to a greater role for the private sector (PCQ), which allowed Andrée Laforest to present herself as the candidate of the environment and balance.< /p>

“Paradoxically, it was on local issues that the candidates were somewhat disappointing, particularly on economic diversification. »

LNG Quebec, Arianne Phosphate, BlackRock Metals, Rio Tinto (and Elysis) and the forest industry were the hobbyhorses of Mrs. Laforest and Dubé and Mr. Pageau, while Adrien Guibert-Barthez listed agrifood, aerospace and digital without having had time to develop. Caroline Dubé was the only one to mention agriculture as a means of diversification.

They did little better when the host Jean-François Coulombe asked them to specify their first decision if they were elected on 3 October. Caroline Dubé replied that she would meet the citizens, Tommy Pageau, that he would invest in the industrial-port zone, Ms. Laforest, took up the theme of the Let's continue party and Mr. Guibert-Barthez cited the climate emergency .

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