Tasha Kheiriddin: A programming note from Quebec that this election will not be a rerun

DM

On Sunday, Radio-Canada televised a two-hour editorial-board style grilling of the federal party leaders in French — and set a new bar for election programming. In contrast with traditional debates, which often feature more shouting than substance, the “meet the press” format saw the politicians peppered with smart questions, eliciting some honest responses and even a few laughs. And it shone a spotlight on election priorities in Quebec, which is shaping up to be the key battleground in the current campaign. The main takeaways? First, everyone’s French was surprisingly good, most noticeably Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s. You could almost hear the collective exhale of Tory partisans as Erin O’Toole deftly fielded questions, in contrast to more cringeworthy performances in 2019 by former leader Andrew Scheer. Francophone voters can genuinely look forward to the substance of the first French-language leaders’ debate this Thursday evening, instead of focusing on live-tweeting the Conservative leader’s language gaffes. Second, the interviews actually featured six political leaders, not five.

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