Segolene Royal speaks to packed Que. auditorium
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2007 9:58PM EDT
MONTREAL - Defeated French presidential candidate Segolene Royal has touched on the so-called reasonable accommodation debate going on in Quebec.
Royal spoke briefly about the controversial topic during her speech at a packed auditorium at Universite de Montreal on Wednesday.
"The questions that are being debated in Quebec around what we call reasonable accommodation seem essential,'' she said. "These are questions being asked in all nations, in all societies that have waves of immigration....,'' she said.
Quebec's experience when it comes to immigration and reasonable accommodation is of particular interest to Royal because she said Quebec has managed to preserve its values and practices while surrounded by largely anglophone Canada.
The Quebec government is holding hearings on the reasonable accommodation of immigrants' practices and demands.
Royal is visiting the province in anticipation of Quebec City's 400th anniversary next year.
She was given a welcome normally reserved for celebrities as many University of Montreal students packed the halls to catch a glimpse of her, take her picture or just talk to her.
The socialist Royal lost the 2007 French presidential election to Nicolas Sarkozy.
Royal also touched on climate change, globalization and the importance of the status of the French language around the world.
"I know that Canada and France did not make the same choice on the Kyoto Protocol, but since then, the ecological conscience has been reinforced everywhere. The world needs Canada,'' Royal said.
On the question of the French-speaking nations, Royal said studies show there will be 300 million French-speaking people by the year 2050, coming from different cultures and continents and has the potential to be a model to the world.
Royal did not answer questions from journalists.