Gertrude Bourdon, the Liberal candidate in the Quebec City riding of Jean-Lesage, says she will make an effort to speak English if elected on Oct. 1.
Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard announced that if his party is re-elected Bourdon will replace Gaetan Barrette as the next health minister. To date, she has refused to answer questions during press conferences in English.
On Wednesday, she was asked about calling residents in her constituency on their birthdays to wish them a “happy birthday” — an act that appears to contravene election law because candidates are not supposed to use the confidential information on electoral lists for anything other than “electoral reasons.”
In French, Bourdon replied that she had been advised that she had the right to wish constituents a “happy birthday” during the election campaign period. However, when asked to respond to the same question in English, she declined.
She said in English, “No, my English is not very good. And you know my answer, I’m sure.”
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Following this question, Bourdon was asked if she would answer questions in English if she becomes health minister when it concerns issues that pertain to the anglophone community.
Couillard jumped in to answer for her.
“You know, I talked about this actually when I discussed with members of the English-speaking community,” he said.
“You know what they told me? ‘We just want the best person.'”
Bourdon then decided to answer for herself.
“Yesterday (Tuesday) I was with the anglophone community in Quebec City, and it was very important. It’s a community that’s important in Quebec City and you know, I’m so young, and I can learn, I’m sure. I don’t have any — I don’t have confidence in me, but I will build,” she said.
“She’s not that bad, come on,” Couillard said after hearing Bourdon’s comments.