[Chronique de Jean-François Lisée] My questions to Jean Charest and Pierre Poilievre

The Pierre Poilievre-Jean Charest duo offers the best political spectacle on the continent these days. No need for coffee or energy drink to follow their debates, on the contrary we stamp our feet in our chairs waiting for the next swerve. I just wonder why a YouTuber doesn’t already offer a re-enactment of their exchanges, embellished with the “Wham”, “Bam” and “Kaboum” speech bubbles made famous in the fight scenes of the old TV series Batman.

We almost wish that the debates excluded the other contenders for the title. They just break the rhythm. During the first debate, last Thursday, only three messages were retained from them: Poilievre did not support enough and too late the illegal blockade of Ottawa by truckers; he who generally expresses himself with force only reminds in mute that he is pro-choice; all in all, the Charest-Poilievre shouting matches harmed party unity. Yes, yes, we understand. Now, can you let the point guards, who are clearly in a class of their own both in the strength and clarity of their words and in their ease in throwing and taking punches, take up most of the space?

However, I fear that the debate scheduled for Wednesday is only a repeat of the one last week. In a pure impulse of public service, I therefore allow myself to submit to the participants, and to the moderators of the debate, additional questions likely to move the discussion forward. Here they are :

Mr Charest, you said that Pierre Poilievre disqualified himself from being able to lead the government by supporting an illegal movement, that of the truckers. One cannot, you said, be both the one who makes the laws and the one who applauds the breaking of the laws.

On this solid basis of principle, should we not conclude that in the event of Mr. Poilievre’s victory, you will in no case be able to join a party leader thus disqualified, in no case be part of his government, in no case, even, to call the electorate to vote for a party which would have chosen as its leader this disqualified from politics?

Mr. Poilievre, you believe that the cause of these truckers was good, despite the illegalities committed. We remember that you took the opposite position, at the beginning of 2020, during the blockade of railways by Aboriginal people. Could you tell us what criteria will guide you, as Prime Minister, to determine which illegal actions are acceptable and which illegal actions are unacceptable? This would be very useful, especially for the demonstrators who would like to oppose the many pipelines that you promise to build.

Mr Charestyou said that it is thanks to you that Quebec found itself, at the 1er April 2019, with a budget surplus of $8 billion. Since you were no longer Prime Minister since your electoral defeat in September 2012, six and a half years earlier, would you be so kind as to tell us how your influence has had such a great impact over time?

Should the Government of Quebec destroy in its archives the official documents attesting that you bequeathed a deficit of three billion when you left? And should we also credit you with other achievements of the governments that followed during these six years and which, for some, allowed the accumulation of this jackpot? If so why ? Budget cuts in Public Health and the DPJ, the dismantling of regional development tools, the closure of organizations against school dropouts, the rationing of home care?

Mr. Poilievre, you promised to grind down the federal laws and regulations limiting the — how to say — “free flow” of oil in the territory. You even propose relaunching the GNL Québec project, which has nevertheless lost the support of investors and the Québec government. If a province formally refuses to allow a pipeline authorized by you to pass through its territory, will you impose it on this province against its will? If yes, how ?

Mr Charest, you refused 19 times during the first debate to tell us the amount of the fees you received from the Chinese company Huawei when you were its lawyer. Since the company is accused of being in cahoots with the Chinese secret services and of having based part of its prosperity on the theft of innovations from the Canadian company Nortel, the information on the sums it paid you could be seen as being in the public interest. For your part, you seem to have decided that it was less harmful for your campaign to appear secretive than to reveal the sum involved. It is assumed that if the total payment was modest, you would be less secretive about it.

Your tactical calculation is both understandable and reprehensible. But by refusing to burst this abscess, aren’t you giving your future Liberal, New Democrat and Bloc opponents an ammunition which they will use so repetitively that it will make one think of the Chinese gout torture? More importantly, because related to national security, doesn’t your silence in this regard give the other holders of this secret — Huawei, the Chinese intelligence services and the Chinese government — leverage that they could use against you by threatening to reveal the sum?

Mr. Poilievre, can you tell us the amount of your current investments in cryptocurrency? We don’t want to have to ask you 19 times.

[email protected]; blog: jflisee.org

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