News / Canada

Couillard not interested in TV debate with Lisee on sovereignty

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has turned down a request for a televised debate on sovereignty and federalism with Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee.

Couillard says he prefers to discuss jobs and the economy.

Lisee used question period in the national assembly on Wednesday to ask for the debate.

On his way later to a cabinet meeting, Couillard said he's not interested in discussing sovereignty with his political foe.

The new PQ leader held a news conference to scoff at Couillard and accuse him of using sovereignty as a diversionary tactic.

Lisee said the premier always turns the conversation to independence when he is asked about the economy.

"I'm telling him,'If you want to talk about sovereignty, we'll have a one-hour debate on it,''' Lisee said. "And he says, 'No, I want to discuss the economy.'''

Couillard maintained that his interests lie in areas other than independence.

"I prefer to talk about subjects that are of concern to Quebecers, such as the economy and jobs," he said.