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Gabriel Attal denies any political interference after his support for Law 21

Photo: Jacques Boissinot The Canadian Press The French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, visited the Ancrage primary school in Quebec on Friday, accompanied by his counterpart François Legault and the Minister of Education, Bernard Drainville.

French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal denied Friday any political interference, following his position in favor of secularism, which he presented as a way of showing that Quebec, who “has taken his destiny in hand and follows his star”, is not alone.

By closing his visit to Quebec which began on Thursday, Mr. Attal affirmed that he respects domestic political debates.

During his speech Thursday before the National Assembly, Mr. Attal insisted on the importance of secularism, which he presented as a foundation of the democratic values ​​of the French Republic. He drew a parallel with the law passed in Quebec by the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government to ban religious symbols from people in authority, criticized by the federal government.

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In a press conference, Prime Minister Attal denied having taken a position on an issue that divides here.

“There are countries or territories or nations in the world that have adopted this model and I consider that my responsibility, when I travel internationally to one of these countries, it is to remind these nations that they are not alone and that this model is defended elsewhere. Does this mean that we are once again entering into an internal political debate ? The answer is no,” he said.

Mr. Attal acknowledged that he had not had discussions on this subject with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his visit to Ottawa, before his arrival in Quebec. He also noted that he is aware of not having aroused the same enthusiasm among all the representatives of the political parties in the National Assembly on Thursday with his speech.

“I saw that the national representation of the deputies of the National Assembly, very largely, stood up to support secularism during my speech,” he said. What I know is that we share this conviction and that we have the same approach to secularism. »

Follow the star

The French Prime Minister returned to the subject of the diplomatic policy of “non-interference, non-indifference”, to which he confirmed that he adheres.

“I would say that the relationship between France and Quebec is more “and sensitivity and respect”. “And sensitivity” because we cannot be insensitive to the debate that crosses Quebec to the obviously singularity of Quebec,” he said.

At the conclusion of the press conference, Mr. Attal insisted on giving his personal vision on this position.

“The way I, personally, would describe Quebec, I would say that Quebec is a nation that has taken its destiny in hand and follows its star,” he said. -he said.

At his side, Mr. Legault simply repeated his satisfaction with their convergence of views on the subject of secularism.

“It’s good to see that debates also exist in France, in Europe and therefore that Quebecers are not alone,” he said.

The leader of the Liberal Party of Quebec, Marc Tanguay, affirmed Friday that Mr. Attal's comments do not constitute political interference.

“We didn’t see it that way,” he said in a written statement. Secularism is a fundamental value in Quebec, in that religion does not dictate the conduct of the State. »

Quebec has its own model of secularism arising from its unique historical, social and legal context, which cannot be compared to that of France, argued Mr. Tanguay.

“In this debate, we Liberals have clearly expressed our positions which diverge, in particular, from those of François Legault and the CAQ,” he said.


Mr. Attal's visit to Quebec concluded with the signing of a joint declaration in which the French Prime Minister and his Quebec counterpart reiterated their governments' commitment to defending the French language.

They also concluded an agreement to strengthen and diversify cooperation in matters of governance, public policies and innovation for youth which will result in the establishment of a common cooperation structure.

Mr. Attal traveled to Quebec for the 21st alternating meeting of Franco-Quebec prime ministers. In Quebec, on Friday, he visited a school and the Book Fair. He then went to Montreal for the economic component of his mission.

Concerned about children's screen time

The French Prime Minister, Gabriel Attal, says he is “very concerned” about children’s screen time, saying he fears a “health and educational catastrophe”. He made these comments during a visit to the Ancrage primary school in Quebec City on Friday, accompanied by Prime Minister François Legault and Minister of Education Bernard Drainville.

Caroline Plante, The Canadian Press

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116