September 18, 2018 4:44 pm
Updated: September 18, 2018 5:35 pm

Couillard defends position in ‘Bonjour-Hi’ kerfuffle

WATCH: A debate over a popular bilingual greeting has resurfaced after the English-language debate between Quebec party leaders. As Global's Raquel Fletcher reports, Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said he would vote again for the motion that calls on store clerks to greet customers only in French.

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Liberal leader Philippe Couillard said he would vote again for a National Assembly motion that created a large backlash in Quebec’s English community.

During a press conference Tuesday, Couillard said he is not changing his position on “Bonjour-Hi” in English and French, as Parti Québécois (PQ) leader Jean-François Lisée has accused him of doing.

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“I noticed the reaction of … English-speaking Quebecers, so of course, I would want to have a dialogue with them (first),” he said, before adding. “I’m not going to be the one introducing a motion like this, I can tell you that.”

READ MORE: ‘Bonjour, hi’ motion ‘positive in its spirit’ says English minister

Quebec’s National Assembly unanimously passed a motion that denounced the popular Montreal greeting “Bonjour-Hi,” introduced by Lisée, who later said he did it to set a trap for the Liberals.

At the time, Couillard appealed to anglophones for empathy and understanding.

During Monday night’s first-ever English-language debate, he asked anglophones to move past this divisive debate.

“This incident happened. Let’s put this behind us. Let’s move forward,” he said.

During scrums after the debate, Lisée said calling the motion an “incident” indicates that Couillard regrets voting in favour of it.

“So he co-sponsored a motion that he’s now ashamed of. (It) simply shows the hypocrisy of the Liberals on matters of language.

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

On Tuesday, Couillard said he doesn’t regret voting for the motion and would vote for it again.

He explained his decision to anglophones, saying, “In my view, the text of the motion was OK, but I would not do it without talking to English-speaking Quebecers because, what I noticed when we adopted that motion, that it reflects the way I feel about Quebec, French official language, English not being a foreign language, everyone being first-class citizens.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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