Andrew Scheer on defensive in first French-language election debate - 2019-10-03
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was forced to defend his views on abortion rights and his party's environmental policies during Wednesday evening's first French-language debate, while all parties tried to head off a surging Bloc Québécois with attacks on leader Yves-François Blanchet.
The debate, hosted by French-language television network TVA, ranged from Quebec's secularism law, to the parties' plans to fight climate change, to the SNC-Lavalin controversy. It was the first debate of the election campaign to feature Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, who faced off against Scheer, Blanchet and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Green Party Leader Elizabeth May and People's Party Leader Maxime Bernier were not invited because neither party has won a federal seat in the province.
Scheer was put on the defensive early on, with all three of his rivals demanding to know his personal views on abortion rights. "Do you believe as a leader, as a father, as a husband, that women have the right to choose, Mr. Scheer?" Trudeau asked. Scheer responded that a Conservative government would not reopen the debate on abortion but did not speak about his personal views.