Canadian PM rebukes France's Ségolène Royal on Quebec sovereignty

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007 File:Segolene royal.jpg

Ségolène Royal
(Image missing from Commons: image; log)

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper commented on France's Socialist Party nominee Ségolène Royal's comments on Quebec sovereignty.

This came after Ségolène Royal met with Canadian Parti Québécois Leader André Boisclair in Paris, France on Monday.

Royal, who has never visited Quebec, says that Quebec shares commons values with France.

"Experience teaches that it is highly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in the democratic affairs of another country," Stephen Harper said in a statement.

"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."

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada

Royal said she was not interfering in Canada's affairs when she made the comment.

"It is not up to France to dictate to either the Québécois or the Canadians what they must do," Royal said. "But, on the other hand, the principles of sovereignty and freedom seem to me absolutely incontestable."

"What I said, which I confirm, is that as in any democracy, the people who vote are sovereign and free. So the people of Quebec will decide freely on their destiny when the time comes, if they are asked," she said on today.

Former French President Charles de Gaulle said the words "Vive le Quebec libre (Long live free Quebec)" from the balcony of Montreal city hall in 1967. De Gaulle left Canada early after former Canadian PM Lester Pearson rebuked his comment.

Quebec sovereignty is a big Canadian political issue in Canada. Quebec separatists have been trying to separate from Canada for more than 40 years.