National Newswatch

OTTAWA — A former Conservative leadership candidate says expectations will be high for ex-Quebec premier Jean Charest when he takes the stage in his home province for the party's French-language debate this week. 

Rudy Husny says not only is Charest fully bilingual, but he must win the province if he hopes to win the contest.  

The party's second official debate of the race takes place Wednesday near Montreal, as candidates only have about one week left to sell membership cards to supporters in order for them to be able to cast a ballot. 

Longtime Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre spent the weekend campaigning in Quebec ahead of the debate, as did Leslyn Lewis, who placed third in the 2020 leadership race. 

Husny, who is from Quebec and now works as a consultant and political analyst, says it's wise for candidates to immerse themselves in French before a debate in that language. 

He believes Poilievre and Charest will largely dominate the event because of their ability to speak French and it's expected that a controversial secularism law that Patrick Brown has been campaigning against will be among the issues raised.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 24, 2022.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

The Canadian Press
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