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Quebec premier defends telling California governor all French Canadians are Catholic

California Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with François Legault, Premier of Quebec, at the Stanford Mansion on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom meets with François Legault, Premier of Quebec, at the Stanford Mansion on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, in Sacramento, Calif. Renée C. Byer/The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool

Quebec Premier François Legault is defending comments made Wednesday to the governor of California in which he declared all French Canadians are Catholic.

Legault was making small talk with Gov. Gavin Newsom during an official visit to Sacramento, Calif., when he brought up religion.

He said the two leaders have something in common: They are both Catholics, although Newsom’s roots are Irish.

READ MORE: Quebec premier tells Manitoba to spend money on French services, Winnipeg Jets — not Bill 21 ads

Legault went on to say all French-Canadians are Catholic, a contentious statement at a time when his government is pushing secularism as a core Quebec value.

Writing on Twitter, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois of the opposition Québec solidaire called the episode embarrassing.

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In a tweet today in response to news coverage of his remarks, Legault says he was “of course” talking about the shared origins of Irish and French Catholics.