With the elections approaching, the leaders of the Quebec party face in the second debate

The second and final campaign debate in Quebec began on Thursday with four candidates seeking to become the province’s new prime minister blasting Francois Legault on the issue of climate change, and he spent much of the rest of the evening facing the blows of his opponents.

With the voting day ballot less than two weeks away, the leaders of Quebec’s five major parties are out.

Legault, leader of the Avenir Quebec coalition, Dominique Englade of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Gabriel Nadu Dubois of Quebec Solidere, Party Québec leader Paul Saint-Pierre Blamondon and Eric Duhemé of the Quebec Conservative Party, wrangling over the environment, inflation, the economy, health, education and identity issues, including Language and immigration.

Climate change

Legault, whose party has been criticized for not doing enough to tackle climate change during his first term but leads in opinion polls, praised his team’s ability to build a green economy.

“The battle against climate change is not in you,” Schott Engled.

Nadeau Dubois, who had several direct exchanges with Legault, accused the outgoing prime minister of spreading fear about the Quebec Solidere environment plan rather than suggesting his own viable plan.

“We have to stop scaring people. You should inspire Quebecers, and suggest solutions,” said a Quebec Solidere spokesperson.

“You are discouraging people, Mr. Lego.”

Legault accused Nadeau Dubois of proposing an unrealistic environmental plan that would derail the county’s economy. Throughout the campaign, Legault described Québec Solidaire’s proposal to impose a 15 percent tax on polluting heavy cars as the “orange tax,” referring to the party’s colors.

“It’s a bit like magic,” Legault said. “It’s like we’re in a wonderland.”

Quebec aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 percent by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, but the province missed the 20 percent reduction target set for 2020 and instead reached just six percent.

Quebec Solidere spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau Dubois, spent much of the evening hanging out with François Legault, the outgoing prime minister. (Ryan Remours/The Canadian Press)

If elected, Quebec Solidere aims for a 55 percent reduction from 1990 levels within eight years. The Liberal Party of Quebec is proposing a 45 percent reduction target over the same period. Al-Duhaimi’s conservatives chose not to set an emissions target, saying he would prefer to prioritize “realistic” targets because not all previous governments failed to meet their targets.

Immigration and the French language

St-Pierre Plamondon, leader of the PQ party, said keeping the annual number of new immigrants in Quebec at 50,000 – rather than reducing it to 35,000 as his party suggests – would make French more vulnerable.

“Your planning leads to the biggest French retreat in Quebec’s history,” Blamondon said, staring directly at the outgoing prime minister.

The debate took place at La Nouvelle Maison de Radio-Canada in downtown Montreal with CBC director Patrice Roy.

The leaders of the five parties are scheduled to appear live on Sunday night Tout le monde en parlea popular talk show on Radio Canada.

The elections will be held on 3 October. Quebec members can also cast their ballots in advance polls on Sundays and Mondays between 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.

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