A consortium of English media outlets is asking Quebec party leaders to participate in an English leaders' debate, as the province gears up for a pending spring election.
The request, sent Monday morning by email to the Coalition Avenir Qébec, the Parti Québécois, the Quebec Liberal Party and Québec Solidaire, was signed by CBC Quebec news director Mary-Jo Barr, CTV Montreal news director Jed Kahane, Global Quebec news director Karen MacDonald, CJAD program and news director Chris Bury and the Gazette Editorial page editor David Johnston.
The invitation comes after the PQ released a statement on Friday saying it would only be participating in a single televised debate.
'We feel strongly that English speaking Quebecers deserve an opportunity to hear directly from you in their language' - Email signed by CBC, CTV, Global, CJAD, The Gazette
"We understand you wish to have only one televised debate in this campaign. However, we feel strongly that English speaking Quebecers deserve an opportunity to hear directly from you in their language," the email request states.
The request proposes an English debate that would last for 90 minutes and would be broadcast live on all platforms: television, radio and online. It would be held in the last two weeks of the campaign.
In the 2012 provincial election, party leaders participated in two debates. One was organized by Radio-Canada and Télé-Québec. The other, organized by TVA, used a one-on-one formula and was held over the course of three nights.
According to the general director of the PQ party, Sylvain Tanguay, that multi-day face-to-face formula forced the party to put its campaign on the backburner.
In the statement released on Friday, Tanguay said a single debate would be enough to provide all Quebecers, from all regions, with an accurate impression of their leaders and the campaign.
Marois declined to take part in an on-air English debate during the 2012 election campaign, claiming her English was not strong enough.