PARIS (CP) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Quebec Premier Jean Charest have taken French presidential candidate Segolene Royal to task for saying she sympathizes with the idea of Quebec sovereignty.Some further strong reactions from more patriotic quebecois such as Federal Liberal Leader Stephane Dion:
The Socialist hopeful was asked about her thoughts on Quebec's national question after a short meeting with Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair in Paris on Monday. Royal said Quebec and France have common values, including "sovereignty and Quebec's freedom."
Harper issued a statement in which he questioned the wisdom of Royal weighing in on a Canadian debate.
"Experience teaches that it is highly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in the democratic affairs of another country," he said.
"We look forward to marking the 400th anniversary of the founding of Canada at Quebec City with the next president of France.
"We expect in turn that the next president will display an understanding of our shared history, and the respect for Canada and Canadians that such an important partnership requires."
[Dion] said Royal's comments hurt her credibility.
"She does not understand," he said. "You do not interfere in the affairs of a friendly country, you do not wish for the dismantling of a friendly country. Canada does not wish for the dismantling of France and France certainly does not wish for the dismantling of Canada."
Meanwhile the damage is done, Quebec's sedition party have their propaganda coup, such as it is:
[Quebec’s separatist Parti Quebecois leader Andre Boisclair] said Royal's comments show she's sympathetic to sovereignty and understands his message. "I think Quebecers will interpret Mrs. Royal's remarks for themselves," he said.I noticed that neither of these articles actually contained more than a mere couple of words of what it is that she had said. They told me what she said, but without letting me read it for myself.
"It would be improper of me to do so but what people have seen is that France, in all circumstances, will be at Quebec's side."
From Yahoo France, I quickly found what, specifically, she said. Here's my translation, from the original french:
"Questioned by quebecois journalists to discover what her "affinities" might be with Quebec, Ségolène Royal replied:
"They [her affinities] conform to the values which we have in common, that is the sovereignty and the liberty of Quebec. I think that the radiance [influence? "le rayonnement", in the original french] and the place which Quebec occupies in the hearts of the french go in that direction", she added.
Sounds like typical Sego halfway thought-thru fluff; interesting, however, to learn that evidently she considers Quebec to be already sovereign. Or maybe the comment reveals how sovereign she currently considers France to be, within the European Union..?
I don't know how much this will actually influence anything in our national dialog about Quebec; who in Canada takes her seriously? Even if she should win her upcoming presidential election, can anything she says or does carry the same influence as General DeGaulle's "Vive Le Quebec Libre" willful sabotage, from 1967:
The following day de Gaulle arrived in Montreal and was driven up Chemin du Roy to the Hôtel de Ville (where Mayor Jean Drapeau and Premier Johnson waited). The crowd was electrified - excited to see the legendary French leader in person.
...De Gaulle stepped out onto the balcony and gave a short address. The speech appeared to conclude with the words "Vive Montréal! Vive le Québec!" (Long live Montreal! Long live Quebec!), but he then added, "Vive le Québec libre! Vive le Canada Français! Et vive la France!" (Long live free Quebec! Long live French Canada! And long live France!).
...The crowd's reaction to de Gaulle's phrase was powerful, and has been described as a "frenzy". Federalist Canadians, on the other hand, were outraged at the implied threat to Canada's territorial integrity and saw the words as an insult to the thousands of Canadians who fought and died on the battlefields of France during two World Wars. There was much criticism in the Canadian media, and the Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson, a soldier who had fought in World War I and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, stated that "Canadians do not need to be liberated."
Back to Sego's french kiss for Quebec. Again, translated from today's Yahoo France:
Journalists and canadian observers tried to find out Monday if Ségolène Royal’s declarations translated into a position from mature reflection or [through] simple improvisation. As she is president of the Poitou-Charentes region, Ségolène Royal recently signed a cooperative agreement with the Délégation générale of Quebec in Paris. When she was minister of Education, she had attended, along with Louise Beaudoin, the premiere of the musical comedie "Notre-Dame de Paris". She is not known for any particular preferences on the quebec question, even if she doesn’t ask for more than becoming a "québécophile" and to visit Quebec, as she indicated Monday to the La Presse Canadian agency.
[She asks to visit Quebec? Hmm.... then how to explain this: ]
...Speaking in Montreal Monday, [Quebec Premier Jean] Charest said he invited Royal to Quebec after she became head of the French Socialists but that she turned him down.