Francophonie: Quebec will not criticize the Tunisian president

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Francophonie: Quebec will not criticize the Tunisian president

Martine Biron, Quebec Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie.

Quebec will not meddle in Tunisia's affairs, Quebec Minister of International Relations Martine Biron announced Thursday.

She spoke to journalists upon her arrival on the Tunisian island of Djerba, where the 18th Summit of La Francophonie will be held on Saturday and Sunday.

The issue of political instability in Tunisia is being debated. is imposed. It is certain that President Kaïs Saïed made an unusual gesture, even extreme in deciding to dismiss his government, began Ms. Biron.

But since the Arab Spring, the presidency and the prime minister, it wasn't working, the two were canceling each other out, so it had become dysfunctional and unmanageable.

He made an important decision, but suddenly he also announced democratic elections for next December 17, she continued.

The Minister says that Quebec thought before confirming its presence at the summit, but at some point, you weigh the disadvantages and say: "Which is best?"

If we condemn Tunisia, it's a bit like condemning Africa. […] It's a voice from the South, we want to do business with the South, so we said to ourselves: “OK, we're coming. For the health of Africa.

Martine Biron believes that democracy in Tunisia must be given a chance. There are democratic elections coming up, she insisted.

“We are here for La Francophonie. We are not here for the political context of Tunisia. We do not condemn, but we do not welcome the situation. »

— Martine Biron, Quebec Minister of International Relations

Earlier in the day, the Canadian Observatory for Rights and Freedoms sounded the alarm, saying democracy was dying in Tunisia and action was needed.

< p class="e-p"> The organization recalled at a press conference in Ottawa that Kaïs Saïed had assumed, in 2021, vast powers and granted the right to govern by decree.

Since then, judges have been sacked, journalists imprisoned and the Tunisian Parliament remains closed, listed New Democrat MP Heather McPherson.

MP Haroun Bouazzi, from Québec solidaire, is of Tunisian origin. In an interview, he deplores the authoritarian excesses that are starting to look a lot like an exit from the democratic process that began in 2011.

He emphasizes that Quebec is a full member of the government. OIF, like France and Switzerland, for example, and as such, it has the power to influence decisions, provided of course that it takes its place.

It is believed that Quebec Premier François Legault should remind President Kaïs Saïed […] of his obligations to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, he stressed.< /p>

MP Joël Arseneau, of the Parti Québécois, is under no illusions: he claims that Quebec has been rather obliterated over the past four years.

We cannot say that Quebec, under the leadership of Legault, distinguishes itself on the international level or shows any autonomy with regard to its international relations, he laments.

On the contrary, he seems to have bet that his international delegations and his role via the ministry is essentially to be an office economic development for Quebec, he added.

During a technical briefing, Mr. Legault's team indicated that he was going to Djerba precisely to talk about the economy.

The Prime Minister of Quebec is expected to deliver a speech on Sunday at the Francophone Economic Forum. He will also want to address issues of labor, immigration and protection of French.

His entourage has also launched several poles at d&#x27 other leaders to arrange bilateral meetings, but none of these meetings have yet been confirmed.

We can, however, expect Mr. Legault to sit down for a few minutes with the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau. A more formal working meeting is planned by the end of the year.

The Francophonie Summit will be held at the end of the week in a tense international context.

It wouldn't be surprising if the war in Ukraine came up in the discussions; most member countries of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) have Ukraine or Russia as their sole source of wheat.

“There are going to be some very important geopolitical issues. Food issues on the African side are quite glaring.

— Frédéric Boily, political scientist at the University of Alberta

It is no longer a secret that Canada would have liked the event to be postponed again, due to the unstable political situation in Tunisia. It had been canceled in 2020 and 2021, in particular due to the pandemic.

With its 88 member and observer states and governments, the OIF is the second largest organization in the world. after the United Nations. It celebrates its 50th anniversary.

This organization is the only one where Quebec is considered a full member. The province of New Brunswick also has this status because it is officially bilingual. Ontario is an observer member.

This year, OIF General Secretary, Rwandan Louise Mushikiwabo, will be the only candidate for her own succession, according to reports. French media.

  • AUDIO: It's even better in the afternoon – Interview with the new Minister of International Relations: Martine Biron
  • Thousands of demonstrators in Tunis against President Saïed and the economic crisis
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