He insisted it’s important for anglophones to understand the challenges his party faces, but did not apologize for adopting the motion.
“I am a sincere person,” Couillard told reporters at the National Assembly Friday.
“If I did this, creating the Secretariat for English-speaking Quebecers, it’s because I believe sincerely we have to.”
When asked if the anglophone community could take that as an apology, the premier said, “No, no because I acted sincerely.”
Couillard is asking anglophones to show more understanding towards his federalist government, saying it has to fight “on a daily basis…for all Quebecers — English and French-speaking” in often difficult situations.
“You know, my ancestors came here in 1613; there were 50 of them. They spoke French. Today, we have 8.2 million people, most of them French-speaking,” the premier said.
“We have a modern state in North America. The pressure is constant. It’s not the same reality being francophone in North America as other realities.”
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ), now ahead in the polls, said Friday it is inviting disgruntled anglophones to vote for it.
Leader François Legault voted in favour of the “bonjour, hi” motion, but argued with him, it’s what you see, what you get.
“I’m not trying to please one or the other and say one thing in French and something else in English. Mr. Couillard is trying to say something — and did the opposite,” Legault said.
Friday, he denied he was using the English community as a political pawn.
“I tell the truth, in French and in English. I exposed the lies of the Liberal party,” he said.