Philippe Couillard asks Quebec anglos for empathy over ‘bonjour, hi’

Click to play video: 'Premier asks for empathy and understanding from English community'
Premier asks for empathy and understanding from English community
WATCH: On the last day of the fall parliamentary session, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard asked the English-speaking community for empathy and understanding in the wake of the Bonjour-Hi controversy. Raquel Fletcher reports – Dec 8, 2017

Premier Philippe Couillard is asking Quebec’s anglophone community to be more empathetic over the ‘bonjour-hi’ debate.

READ MORE: Quebec passes motion for store clerks to stop saying ‘bonjour, hi’

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.”

READ MORE: PQ leader ‘set trap’ with ‘bonjour-hi,’ Couillard speaks English in QP

When asked if the anglophone community could take that as an apology, the premier said,  “No, no because I acted sincerely.”

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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.

READ MORE: Premier Philippe Couillard makes plea for English speakers to move back to Quebec

“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.

READ MORE: Already campaigning for Quebec’s 2018 election?

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.

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Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Jean-François Lisée has already admitted he, in his own words, “set a trap” for the Liberals by presenting the motion.

READ MORE: Does Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard need a reality check?

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.

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