POLITICS

Pauline Marois: Harper Foreign Policy Not Open, Multilateral

10/16/2012 10:26 EDT | Updated 12/16/2012 05:12 EST
CP/AP
PARIS - Premier Pauline Marois laced into Canada's foreign policy on Tuesday, saying it doesn't reflect Quebecers' values or interests.

''For several years, Quebecers have barely recognized themselves in a Canadian foreign policy that has turned its back on a tradition of openness, mediation and multilateralism,'' Marois told a French think-tank in Paris.

''Canada's current foreign policy corresponds to neither our values nor our interests.''

She made particular reference to the positions of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government on climate change, describing them as being ''poles apart from Quebec's.''

Marois, whose Parti Quebecois was elected with a minority government last month, made the comments before a 45-minute meeting with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

On Monday, she met with French President Francois Hollande and she will wrap up the trip on Wednesday by meeting with investors and holding a closing news conference.

Marois' more strident attitude toward Ottawa came just a few days after she struck a more conciliatory tone following her meeting with Harper at the summit of la Francophonie in Africa.

The Quebec premier denied having changed her attitude over just a few days.

''We haven't hardened the tone,'' Marois told a news conference. ''These are things we've been saying for a long time.

''We did so when we were in the Opposition. Now that we're in the government, we're using the same language. We disagree and we say it whether we're in Quebec or abroad.''

Canada's ambassador to UNESCO, Jean-Pierre Blackburn, was among the audience of about 150 people who listened to Marois' speech.

The former Conservative cabinet minister described it as ''interesting,'' possibly ''inspiring'' for those who share her point of view, which is that of a government ''that wants Quebec independence.''

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