Trudeau Booed For Speaking English In Quebec On Fete Nationale

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QUEBEC — All in all, it was fairly tame compared to the virulent reaction against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's father 48 years ago.

Trudeau was booed briefly by a few people in Quebec City on Friday — the province's Fete nationale — about 11 seconds after he began speaking in English about the result of the Brexit referendum in Britain.

He gave English another six seconds before reverting to French to discuss the scheduled topic of the day — the inauguration of a museum pavilion.

justin trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks to the crowd at the official unveiling of the Pierre Lassonde Pavillon at Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec in Quebec City on Friday June 24, 2016. (Photo: Francis Vachon/CP)

Exactly 48 years earlier, Trudeau's father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was involved in one of the most politically charged incidents in Quebec history when he attended the annual Saint-Jean-Baptiste (as it was known then) parade and was the target of sovereigntists a day before the election that would see him first became prime minister.

People tossed bottles in his direction and the event degenerated into violent clashes between police and protesters. As those sitting near him tried to drag him to safety, Trudeau stood his ground and refused to leave the stage.

The next day his Liberals easily formed the government.

Couillard calls it 'a shame'

On Friday, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said it was "a shame" the current prime minister was booed.

"We could have greeted his message in a more positive manner," said Couillard, who was also in attendance at the museum event.

"While it's the Fete nationale of all Quebecers and one expects speeches and presentations to be in French, he wanted, I believe, to issue a statement to all Canadians about Brexit and I think we have to remind people that one must be open and tolerant."


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