It was not a good night for Maxime Bernier.
The leadership hopeful from Quebec came under attack from left, right, and center in the recent French-language debate for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party. In fact, there were heated debates back-and-forth between many of the candidates as they attempted to defend their own policy proposals and attack those by others.
Many of the themes of the debate revolved around the Party’s relationship with the people of Quebec and the importance of French language. Other topics that came under discussion included immigration, security, and First Nations. The debate was notable for the absence of Kevin O’Leary who is all set to join the race post-debate.
Kellie Leitch, one of the leading contestants in the race called Bernier a “liar and an impostor.”
And this was not even the harshest attack on the Quebec politician. Many candidates directed the 30 seconds they had, for rebuttal, towards Bernier.
He came under attack for his stance on ending corporate welfare and his actions on achieving it when he was the minister. Another reason he frequently came under fire was his promise to end supply management.
Struggling with French
On a lighter note, the night was also notable because of the keen eye people had on the French-speaking capabilities of the candidates. Very few of the candidates in the Conservative leadership are fluent in both English and French.
And although the two candidates from Quebec—Blaney and Bernier—spoke French effortlessly, others were not so lucky. Some, like Lisa Raitt and Deepak Obhrai practically struggled and relied primarily on phonetically reading the notes they had. Kevin O’Leary, on the other hand chose to stay out of the debate due to respect for the people of Quebec since he’s a unilingual.