Prime Minister François Legault’s wife secretly met the French President and his wife at the Élysée last June during a mission to Paris.
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Six weeks ago Isabelle Brais, wife of the Prime Minister of Quebec, flew to Paris. According to her Instagram account, she accompanied Culture Minister Mathieu Lacombe and Quebec delegate in Paris Michèle Boisvert to the inauguration of the Biénnale Internationale Métiers d’Art et Créations, which put Quebec in the spotlight.
Isabelle Brais, Culture Minister Mathieu Lacombe and Quebec Delegate in Paris Michèle Boisvert at the inauguration of the Salon des Métiers d’arts du Québec in Paris.
The First Lady of Quebec also attended and laid a wreath at the 79th anniversary of the Allied landings at Juno Beach, Normandy.
Then nothing of his visit appears in the social networks.
However, Ms. Brais also went to the Élysée to meet Macron there and the event was never publicized in Quebec.
However, for the sake of transparency, Brigitte Macron’s travels and dates for the month of June have recently been published on the Elysée website. It says: “Interview with Isabelle Brais, wife of the Prime Minister of Quebec”.
The wife of the Prime Minister of Quebec, Isabelle Brais, and the First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, together in the Élysée. Photo courtesy of L’Élysée
Once again the Quebec delegate in Paris, Michèle Boisvert, was present.
The prime minister was absent due to the end of parliamentary session and the wildfires that were ravaging northern Quebec, Mr Legault’s cabinet said.
“It is perfectly normal for the Prime Minister’s wife to occasionally represent Quebec internationally,” said Prime Minister’s spokesman Ewan Sauves.
According to the company, Isabelle Brais received a personal invitation from Ms. Macron. The two ladies would have become friends following François Legault’s only official visit to the Élysée in 2019.
Accompanied by the Quebec delegate in Paris, she nevertheless met French President Emmanuel Macron.
The wife of the Prime Minister of Quebec, Isabelle Brais, at the Élysée with the President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, his wife, Brigitte Macron, and the Quebec delegate in Paris, Michèle Boisvert. Photo courtesy of L’Élysée
Ms Brais “took this brief exchange to thank France, on behalf of the Prime Minister and all Quebecers, for sending hundreds of French firefighters to fight wildfires in Quebec,” explained Mr Sauves.
During this trip, Isabelle Brais was accompanied by her usual bodyguard.
The cabinet minimized spending from public funds to make Ms Brais’ trip possible, claiming that she was staying at the Quebec delegation’s residence in Paris. “It was not hidden in any way,” added the spokesperson.
Former minister and constitutional expert Benoît Pelletier believes such a meeting could be good for relations between the two nations but should be made public by the Quebec government in the future.
“I think it would be good if we made it a habit to make this type of meeting public, even if there is an informal aspect,” he said in an interview. “Even if we relate it to the issue of friendship, the fact remains that there are ramifications for the relationships between the two entities as well.”
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Although the prime minister’s wife is not elected and does not play a diplomatic role in government, Quebec-France relations can benefit from such talks, he believes.
“Of course, if she had spoken about background files and, unbeknownst to anyone, had a mandate from her husband or a government mandate, it would be different,” said the lawyer, who knows Quebec-France relations well. “But if it continues to be about human relationships, I see goods that are made for Quebec-France relations.”
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