Making a historic first speech by a Canadian prime minister to the National Assembly of France, Justin Trudeau earned applause as well as jeers and boos as he visited his familiar themes of trade, freer immigration and climate change.
As the Canadian Press reports, Trudeau scored points with his remarks on climate change — speaking in the city where the Paris climate accord was signed in 2015. But when he turned to the free trade deal between Canada and the European Union that is now in the process of ratification, many of the smiles on the faces of the National Assembly members turned to frowns and cheers to jeers.
The right-wing opposition reacted to Trudeau’s remarks on open borders immigration with catcalls. National Front Leader Marine Le Pen sat stone-faced throughout Trudeau’s address and did not applaud.
Canada has traditionally had a close relationship with France as the province of Quebec as originally called New France and settled by French colonists before the British arrived to eventually dominate British North America.
Trudeau suggested a wave of “ignorance” was threatening Europe and he urged France to remain a progressive bulwark against by committing itself to progressive trade, diversity, immigration, environmental protection, gender equality and liberty.
“In the face of ignorance, let us choose reason. In the face of obscurity, let us choose science, debate and progress.”
Canada and France declared themselves to be leaders in the climate change “fight” on Monday, suggesting that President Donald Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the Paris climate accord has created a leadership vacuum.