Andrew Scheer’s Quebec conundrum and what it means for the Conservatives

The TVA French leaders’ debate has come and gone, and for once, pundits actually seem to agree on a few things.

The first is that newbie Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet won the debate, giving a solid performance that will breathe even more life into his already-resurgent party. The second is that NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh exceeded expectations, but that his performance probably won’t help him much in a province where a voter blithely tells him to cut off his turban to appear “more Canadian.”

The third is that Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had a pretty bad night, as his three opponents vied for the title of Most Progressive In the Room — and made him, instead of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, their communal punching bag.

The gang-up started right out of the gate with the issue of abortion, on which Trudeau challenged Scheer to state his personal position, i.e., that he is pro-life. Scheer was probably told that his Quebec audience would enjoy this as much as a trip to Gilead, so he stuck to talking points about not reopening the abortion debate if elected.

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