None of the candidates speaks French as a first language. No translation or interpretation will not be provided to the candidates on stage.
Dan Nowlan, co-chair of the organizing committee of the elections to the leadership of the conservative Party (LEOC), will moderate the debate. The debate will take place in Toronto, but there will be no audience in the studio.
This debate is particularly important because it offers candidates a rare opportunity to address a large number of voters in Quebec.
The province has not elected many conservative mps in the House of commons over the past 20 years – the party has reached its peak with 12 members in 2015 – but the members of the conservative Party in Quebec have a disproportionate influence in the contest of leadership.
The conservatives weigh each district equally, regardless of the number of votes which are deposited individually. This means that a constituency in Quebec, with a few tens of members voting has as much weight as a constituency in Alberta, where hundreds of ballots could be deposited.
Half of the ten members of the conservative caucus of Quebec has approved MacKay. This is Steven Blaney (who was ranked ninth in the leadership race in 2017), and Jacques Gourde – the only conservative mps from Quebec elected at the breakthrough of Stephen Harper in 2006 in the province who sit still in the House of commons today.
MacKay also has the support of two senators from Quebec, seven former deputies and senators of the Quebec and most of the candidates who stood for the party in the province during the last elections.
O’toole has only one conservative mp in Quebec (Richard Martel, who was first elected in a by-election in 2018), as well as two former deputies and three senators in the exercise – even if one of his supporters, the former president of the Senate, Leo Housakos, was a considerable number in the quebec wing of the party.
The topics to be discussed are the economy, and its recovery after COVID-19, the official languages Act, the army and its equipment, the environment, natural resources, the candidates ‘ plans to “defeat the liberals,” and the independence of the agriculture and agri-food. .
The candidates will begin tomorrow night with a debate in English. The topics of the debate in English include the government’s measures against the pandemic, the elderly, “how to win a majority government and broaden the coalition”, the issues affecting indigenous peoples and the social conservatism.
The process of election of officers, which will take place entirely by mail, should be completed by August 21.