11/07/2020 11:23 EST

‘Follow-Up’ Podcast: Who Speaks For Quebec In Ottawa?

New free speech debates sow old divisions.

CP/Sean Kilpatrick
The Canada flag flies at half mast on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Nov. 4, 2020. in honour of Samuel Paty who was murdered in France last week.

OTTAWA — While it seems debates over free speech have been on a rolling boil south of the border, the topic has also dominated francophone TV and radio in recent weeks up here, giving new breath to old debates about how Quebec’s voice is represented in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s unsubstantiated comment last week, that freedom of expression is not without limits, opened a spigot of op-eds and earned quick derisions from the Bloc Québécois.

The party has recently used its federal platform to draw attention to controversy over a professor’s use of the “N-word” at the University of Ottawa, and to Charlie Hebdo cartoons of the prophet Mohammed linked to the violent killing of a teacher in France

“We didn’t choose those issues,” Bloc MP Stéphane Bergeron told HuffPost Canada’s politics podcast. “They presented them by themselves.”

The separatist party claims to be the voice of Quebec in Ottawa — a statement that raises the eyebrows of other MPs from there. 

Bergeron, Conservative MP Gérard Deltell and Liberal MP Joël Lightbound join “Follow-Up” host Althia Raj this week to talk about the waves the Bloc is making in Ottawa. And former Conservative MP Jay Hill, interim leader of a new western separatism party, shares what he’s learned from the Bloc. 

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