On Tuesday, October 6th, the Foundation hosted its first political debate, as part of our Jeanne Sauvé Forum programming. In the context of the Program’s theme Leadership for Culturally Diverse Societies, four federal election candidates debated about issues related to immigration, integration, diversity and Canada’s role in our globalizing world in a bilingual environment.

Hélène Laverdière (New Democratic Party, Laurier – Sainte-Marie), Rodolphe Husny (Conservative Party, Outremont), Daniel Green (Green Party, Ville-Marie – Le Sud-Ouest – Île-des-Soeurs) and Rachel Bendayan (Liberal Party, Outremont) participated in a lively debated moderated by Professor Antonia Maioni, Chair of our Board of Directors and Associate VP (Research and International Relations) at McGill University.

Following an official welcome by Foundation President, Ion Valaskakis, each candidate presented his or her Party’s platform. This was followed by a series of questions carefully crafted with the help of our 2015-17 Fellows. Dr. Maioni asked questions tied to Canada’s perceived lack of responsible engagement in international affairs; the interconnected crises caused by climate change; multiculturalism and diversity; refugee rights and aboriginal rights in Canada; and the future state of our democracy.

Candidates spoke about a need to rebalance our approach to international engagement – as Canada has lost some of its credibility and influence on the global stage – and to continue to talk about multiculturalism and its complex challenges. They called for more democracy, more sustainability and more accountability. On a national level, candidates pled for increased inclusion, safety and opportunities for youth to ensure a brighter future for Canadians.

The debate was followed by a Q&A period led by our collaborators and in-house colleagues Apathy is Boring – a non-partisan charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy. Cavan Riordian, Research and Elections Program Coordinator for Apathy is Boring, moderated questions from the audience and via social media, to which candidates gave energetic answers. Then, Éloge Butera (2009-10) Sauvé Alumni gave an eloquent and inspirational closing speech.

Find more #JSFDebate on Twitter:

Excited to be at @JSauveFdn for the #JSForum – looking forward to first political debate held at Sauvé House! – Saman Ahsan @SamanAhsan

A truly bilingual debate about diversity tackles tough questions @JSauveFdn #JSForum – Meaghan Thurston @MeaghanThurston

We can play a better, more constructive role on the international scene @RachelBendayan on Canada’s role in globalizing world #JSFDebate – Jeanne Sauvé Fdn @JSauveFdn

“We live in a globalized world. Therefore, we have to stop building walls around Canada.” – Helene of NDP @JSauveFdn – Rolando Jr Villamero @RJrC_Villamero

“We should never make a choice between environment and economy” – Rodolphe Husny @JSauveFdn #JSFDebate – Rolando Jr Villamero @RJrC_Villamero

Eloquently and movingly put: “Aboriginals are refugees in their own land” @DanielGreen_PVC #JSForum @JSauveFdn – Jaspreet K. Khangura @JK_Khangura


We would like to thank everyone – candidates, guests, new friends, community members, Fellows, staff – who made this event a night to remember. We look forward to more political debates in the future.

 

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