Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sarkozy blesses idea of Canadian unity

QUEBEC — French President Nicolas Sarkozy gave a ringing endorsement of Canadian unity Friday, ushering in a new era in France's relations with Canada that strikes a blow to the Quebec sovereignty movement.

In the first speech ever delivered by a French President in the Quebec National Assembly, Mr. Sarkozy said the days when France was always asked to choose between Canada and Quebec are over.

“We [Quebec and France] are equal partners … and we don't have to exclude anyone. Our relationship is consistent with the place that France occupies in the European Union. You don't ask us to choose Quebec or the European Union. And our relationship is consistent with the friendship that ties France with Canada,” Mr. Sarkozy said.

A number of dignitaries looked on from the gallery, nodding their approval, including Power Corp. of Canada founder Paul Desmarais, a staunch federalist and close friend of the French President.

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