Daniel LeBlanc considers Paul Dewar’s showing.
There was a strong feeling among people following the event that Ottawa MP Paul Dewar was the weakest performer in French. Mr. Dewar is working every day with a tutor, but he had problems expressing his thoughts, especially when he could not rely on his notes. Mr. Dewar frequently used short sentences, took a number of pauses and struggled to improvise when he was questioned by rival candidates.
Toronto MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale—High Park) was forced to walk a fine line between defending free and universal health coverage while respecting provincial jurisdiction — always a hot topic in this province — when Ottawa MP Paul Dewar asked her what she would do if the Quebec government wanted to charge hospital user fees. “We hope that we want our health care system to be public, but really it’s a provincial jurisdiction, so it’s the decision of Quebecers,” Nash said.
Dewar later told reporters he was surprised by this response to the question of user fees, for which the NDP went after former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff during the federal election last year. “We dealt with this question and Jack (Layton) was very strong on it, that we want to have the Canada Health Act enforced for everyone,” Dewar said. “It’s not fair that some people would have to pay user fees and others wouldn’t.”