Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante has apologized for delivering a speech only in English at an announcement about private investments in artificial intelligence on Tuesday.
After the event, a Journal de Montréal reporter confronted Plante about her speech, asking if she simply forgot to address the crowd in French.
The reporter answers, saying he wonders if it’s normal or if it sends a good message for the mayor of Montreal, one of the biggest cities in the world, to address a crowd only in English.
After taking a moment to think about what he said, Plante states that she is the mayor of the largest francophone city in North America and she is very proud.
“Are there any other questions?” she adds.
She tweeted an apology Tuesday evening.
“Mea culpa,” she tweeted. “I went off script this morning while speaking to a group of foreign investors in artificial intelligence. My speech should have been mainly in French.”
“I’m proud of being the mayor of North America’s francophone metropolis and I remain committed in promoting our common and official language on all forums.”
Political analyst Karim Boulos points out the mayor is “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
“She’s a separatist if she doesn’t walk in the Canada Day parade and she’s a federalist if she speaks English,” he told Global News.
Boulos says as mayor, Plante has to be true to herself, stand her ground and be the mayor she wants to be.
“I don’t think she was trying to slight Quebecers in the city, she’s very pro-Quebec, she’s a proud Quebecer,” said Boulos.
“She wants to open Montreal to the world and in order to do that, you have to speak their language and make them feel welcome.”