(Djerba, Tunisia) François Legault is using his presence at the Francophonie summit to set the record straight on France and its controversial Law 96 on its immigration policies. The prime minister believes the “media outside of Quebec” may have “misinterpreted” his intentions. He will also pass the message on to Justin Trudeau.
François Legault landed on the Tunisian island of Djerba on Friday afternoon, where 18 opened on Saturday.e The summit of La Francophonie was his first mission abroad since his re-election. This international event is expected to return after four years.
The prime minister quickly set the table during an interview with Quebec journalists: He wants to “explain the context” of his policies to protect the French in Quebec.
Mr. Legault sees.
“We talked [à l’étranger, dans les médias] In Bill 96, we talked about the number of places we want to limit in CEGEPs in English, consolidation, immigrant selection,” said Mr. Legault said.
“I think it’s important to explain the context, Quebec has been first and will always be a welcoming people,” he added during a press scrum.
Mr. Legault’s recent comments on immigration caused a stir during the election campaign. The prime minister called it “a little suicidal” for the French to welcome more immigrants to Quebec. He also insisted that non-French-speaking immigration, left unchecked, was a threat to “national unity”.
“We’ve seen some media outside of Quebec perhaps misunderstand the goals that we set for ourselves in terms of our Act 96 or the number of immigrants,” said Mr. Legault argued.
He noted international “comments” about Act 96, his reform of Act 101, which “does not respect the rights of English speakers”.
The prime minister wants to “seize the opportunity” to talk about this matter with international leaders “because if there are few people who can better understand the challenge we have in Quebec to protect the French language, it is actually the French-speaking states.”.
He wants to discuss the matter with Justin Trudeau. Mr. A meeting between the two should take place on Saturday on the sidelines of the Francophonie summit since Legault was re-elected.
“We will certainly be talking about the proper application of Act 101 to federally chartered entities,” Mr. Legault said. “I want Mr. Trudeau to understand that the situation of the 48% of francophones on the island of Montreal is dire. We have to work together,” he added.
The Prime Minister was referring to recent findings by the Office Quebecois de la Langue Française that indicate 48.3% of Montrealers will speak French at home by 2021.
Justin Trudeau has expressed several reservations about passing Bill 96, which includes a disparagement clause, and has yet to indicate whether his government intends to mount a challenge. The Legault government’s legislation has angered some English-speaking communities.
Interview with the Tunisian President
François Legault said Tunisian President Gais Said had requested an interview with him as the host country for the summit. Contrary to what its international relations minister and La Francophonie said on Thursday, Quebec will convince Tunisia about democracy.
“We’re on the same page,” said Mr. Legault replied, referring to the words of Martin Biron. “What we are saying is that it challenges us. We will not intervene, but we will still state that democracy and human rights are important to us,” he said.
The Canadian government campaigned with its French ally this summer to push for a further postponement of the summit due to the controversial policies of President Said, who was democratically elected in 2019. The latter seized all power in 2021 on the grounds that the country had become ungovernable.
“We have to give the runner a chance,” said Mr. Legault said, “democratic elections” take place on December 17.
François Legault ended his day on Friday with a meeting with Louis Mushikivabo, Secretary General of La Francophonie. The only candidate for his successor, he must be reappointed during the summit.