Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Girl Can't Help It

The French have words for it, gaffe and penchant:

PARIS, Jan 23, 2007 (AFP) - France's Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal was accused of making a new diplomatic gaffe Tuesday after she was rebuked by Canada's prime minister for reportedly supporting "freedom" for Quebec.

In remarks that made headline news across Canada, Royal was quoted as saying after a meeting with Andre Boisclair, head of the pro-independence Parti Quebecois, that France and Quebec share common values, including "sovereignty and Quebec's freedom."

It prompted a sharp retort from Prime Minister Stephen Harper who said that "experience teaches that it is highly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in the democratic affairs of another country."

Stephane Dion, of Canada's Liberal Party opposition, also rejected the remarks. "We do not interfere in the affairs of a friendly country. We do not wish for the dismantling of a friendly country," he said.

Quebec has twice held referendums on secession from Canada -- in 1980 and 1995 -- and on each occasion a majority has been opposed. Boisclair's party is committed to a new referendum if it takes power in Quebec in 2008.

....It was not the first time Royal, 53, has come under fire for what her opponents say are diplomatic gaffes.
On a visit to the Middle East she was accused of condoning remarks by the Lebanese Hezbollah leader in which he compared Israel to Nazi Germany, and in Beijing she made controversial comments in praise of the Chinese system of justice.

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