Pauline Marois says she won't take part in an English-language leaders debate, citing her comfort level in the language and existing dialogue with the province's anglophone population.
Marois said, "it's a no," when asked if she would participate in the debate organized by a consortium of English media.
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 group asked for a 90-minute debate in English, to be broadcast live on television, radio and online in the last two weeks of the campaign.
The leaders of the province's other three major political parties had already indicated they were open to the idea of an English-language debate.
Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault responded on Monday, saying that he would "discuss the feasibility" of his participation in a such a debate.
Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard and Québec Solidaire representatives have replied, saying they were prepared to participate.
Marois said she had already addressed, and rejected, the question of a debate in English years ago.
"I am able to speak in English and I think I improved my English, but I don’t think I will be very comfortable in a debate for explaining my specific point of view and I don’t think that will serve the Anglo Quebecers," she said after making a campaign announcement this morning in Drummondville.
"But I am able to have a dialogue with the Anglo Quebecers and I proved that in the past and I will continue to do that in the future."