(Québec) Télé-Québec does not feel bound by an obligation of impartiality or fairness by inviting the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire (QS), Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, to give a conference in a high school.

The public broadcaster is criticized by the Legault government and the Parti Québécois (PQ) for its choice, while the co-spokesperson for Québec solidaire says rather that “we should all be happy” with the choice of an elected official.

He was chosen as part of a competition, the Mammoth project. Young people aged 13 to 17 were thus asked last fall to suggest personalities who have inspired them on a web platform, with an open question. Among the 15 finalists who were most often mentioned, a vote determined the five most popular.

The five winners are then invited to give talks in secondary schools in Quebec.

Télé-Québec does not feel bound by an obligation of fairness to all parties for this contest, since elected officials are constantly invited to other network programs, suggested its spokesperson.

“The Mammoth movement is not a democratic exercise like in an election period”, justified the vice-president of communications for public television, Nicole Tardif, in an interview with La Presse Canadienne on Wednesday.

“I find it rather gratifying to see young people aged 13 to 17 being asked once a year to give their opinion on the people who inspire them and who appoint politicians. Honestly, we should be happy about that, we keep saying that young people are cynical. »

If the young people had chosen the conservative leader Éric Duhaime, for example, Télé-Québec would have respected their choice, she responded to such a hypothesis.

Télé-Québec thus gives a platform to a public figure that young people have designated as an inspiring person, summarized the vice-president.

“If we did a vox-pop, I’m not sure they all know which party Mr. Nadeau-Dubois is from,” she said.

“We should all be happy that young people, when it’s time to choose people who inspire them, choose political figures, not just TV stars,” said the main interested party, Mr. Nadeau-Dubois, in a press scrum. in the National Assembly.

According to the Parti Québécois (PQ), organizing tours for some elected officials, but not others, with young people who will have the right to vote in 2026 does not fall within the role of a public broadcaster like Télé-Québec, even if it is the choice of young people in a competition.

“Give him his prize (to Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois), but Télé-Québec is not obliged to organize conferences to promote him! launched the PQ MP for Matane-Matapédia, Pascal Bérubé, in a press scrum on Wednesday morning.

“Did we offer the same thing (to PQ leader) Paul St-Pierre Plamondon? To the Liberal leader (Marc Tanguay), to the Prime Minister (François Legault)? Of course not, ”continued Mr. Bérubé, thus claiming fairness.

It was Mr. Bérubé who arrested the Minister of Culture and Communications, Mathieu Lacombe, on Tuesday evening. The latter then replied that it was “surprising” and that he felt “some discomfort”.

However, he does not believe that his role was to “interfere” in the affairs of Télé-Québec, adding that if he did, fellow parliamentarians would blame him.

It is “healthy” for elected officials to give lectures in secondary schools and it is up to Télé-Québec to decide, argued QS deputy for Rosemont, Vincent Marissal, in defense of his parliamentary leader.

“I am proud as an MP to see that my two co-spokespersons (Mr. Nadeau-Dubois and Manon Massé) inspire young people in the fight against climate change. »

He mentioned the example of former PQ Prime Minister Jacques Parizeau, who gave lectures in CEGEPs. However, he was not the guest of Télé-Québec and he spoke then in front of college students who are adults or on the eve of becoming so, while in secondary schools, it is about minors.