The Premier of Quebec, Monsieur Rene Levesque, is in France canvassing support for his campaign to made Quebec independent of the rest of Canada.
The Premier of Quebec, Monsieur Rene Levesque, is in France canvassing support for his campaign to made Quebec independent of the rest of Canada. He arrived in Paris on Wednesday (2 November) for a three-day official visit.
SYNOPSIS: Monsieur Levesque was welcomed at the airport by French Prime Minister Raymond Barre, with whom he later explored proposals for close French-co-operation with Quebec, in the development of the province's copper and other mineral resources. But he made no secret of the fact that his main reason for visiting France was to gain support for his `Free Quebec' campaign. His visit is getting lavish coverage in the French newspapers, with reports recalling the late President de Gaulle's cry of `Vive le Quebec Libre' in Montreal in 1967, which caused an upsurge of separatist sentiment. The conservative newspaper `Le Figaro' said Monsieur Levesque's stay in Paris ushered in a major step towards the political emancipation of Quebec.
Monsieur Barre's welcoming speech was an indication that France was very pleased with Monsieur Levesque's presence, and sympathetic towards the Parti Quebecois call for releasing Quebec from English-speaking Canada.
Monsieur Levesque claimed the right to be treated as an equal partner. He said he was sure France was not indifferent to their collective project. Later, M. Levesque was granted the privilege of following in Napoleon's footsteps when he entered the French National Assembly to address deputies about his Government's separatist aims. He approached the Palais Bourbon -- home of the French Parliament -- through the ceremonial main entrance once reserved for the exclusive use of Napoleon. Officials said it was the first time the step had been used for a formal occasion for 150 years.
All in all, it was a warm reception for Monsieur Levesque, leader of the biggest French-speaking community outside France. Monsieur Levesque has been in France privately for over a week. He told newsmen he had come to pay homage to the `sympathy' that be Gaulle had shown towards Quebec.