Bloc Leader Yves François Blanchet says he wants to bring vaccine plant to Quebec

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MONTREAL — A new Moderna vaccine manufacturing facility is more likely to be built in Quebec if voters choose the Bloc Québécois over Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, Bloc Leader Yves-François Blanchet said on Saturday.

Massachusetts-based drug maker Moderna said the company will build an mRNA vaccine manufacturing plant in Canada -- its first facility outside the United States.

Liberal candidate Francois-Philippe Champagne, in his capacity as innovation minister, announced the news with Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel in Montreal on Aug. 12, without giving a specific location.

Blanchet said many Liberal candidates in Quebec would not push for the facility to be built in the province if their party once again forms government.

But the Bloc would not feel pressure to toe the party line, and could advocate for the facility to be built in their province, Blanchet said during a press conference in his riding of Beloeil-Chambly, Que.

“When these Liberals will speak in the House of Commons, it will be to ask questions already written by the minister who's going to answer,” Blanchet said.

The Liberals weren't having it.

"The Bloc is trying to claim the Liberal government’s accomplishments. They say if things were done, it’s because of them. No, it’s because of the high presence of Quebecers around the table," said Pablo Rodriguez, the Liberal candidate for Honoré-Mercier.

Blanchet also attacked the NDP, accusing the party of being against the province’s values during the last 22 months.

According to the Bloc leader, every time Quebec spoke up to defend the French language and secularism, the NDP accused the Bloc of racism.

“There is no society more generous than Quebec in America,” Blanchet said. “We say French is the common language ... but somebody tells us it’s xenophobic. These are repeated and twisted accusations.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on Aug. 21, 2021

Patrice Bergeron, The Canadian Press

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