French president says Canadian Parliament was ‘defiled’ by last month’s attack
WATCH: French President Francois Hollande reflects on the recent shootings in Parliament and singled out the bravery of Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers
OTTAWA – Canada’s Parliament was “defiled” last month when a gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial and stormed the Centre Block, says French President Francois Hollande.
But he suggested the air campaign in Iraq and Syria to degrade the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, won’t be enough.
“It won’t be resolved with a few bombings,” he said. “The bombings will not help us find political solutions.”
Canadian fighter jets are part of the Western coalition fighting ISIL, as two CF-18s dropped bombs on ISIL targets near Fallujah, west of Baghdad, on the weekend. They are part of a six-month contribution that many analysts say could take much longer to defeat the ISIL threat.
Hollande addressed Parliament on Monday before scheduled visits to Montreal and Quebec City.
The French president also saluted Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, the man who ultimately took down the attacker.
“This seat of democracy … was defiled on Oct. 22 by a terrorist-inspired attack, the ultimate goal of which was to attack the very idea of freedom, which this Parliament represents,” Hollande said.
“I salute the courage of Kevin Vickers, who is known all across the world.”
Earlier, the French president placed a wreath at the war memorial.
On Sunday, Hollande expressed his sorrow for the deaths of two Canadian soldiers as he started the first leg of his state visit to Canada with a tour of Alberta’s Banff National Park hosted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The two soldiers were killed last month in separate incidents in what police have described as terrorist attacks.
WATCH: Francois Hollande reflects on France’s shared history with Canada
Harper touched on the attacks on Parliament and the National War Memorial as he introduced Hollande to a special joint session of Parliament.
Harper also told Parliament he and Hollande had discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression in Ukraine, the “urgency of dealing with climate change” and the ongoing Ebola crisis.
In his speech, Hollande said world must act to bring down greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels.
Hollande noted Sunday’s report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that said climate change is almost entirely manmade and it is necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero this century in order to limit the impact.
Hollande said the report was the work of “the highest scientific authorities” and that a “lack of action will lead to a disaster.”
France will host the next major international climate summit in December 2015 and Hollande said he wants Canada’s help.
Hollande said that he hoped that as Canada continues to develop its energy sector in the western provinces that it “will be fully committed in this fight against global warming.”
Last month, Hollande’s special climate envoy visited Ottawa, but was unable to get a meeting with Harper.
Hulot met NDP Leader Tom Mulcair, whom he called a climate change ally. Hollande is to meet Mulcair in Ottawa later Monday.
Hollande and Harper will also address a business luncheon on Ottawa.
The French leader is accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a large business and academic delegation.
© 2014 The Canadian Press