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The French are always welcome in Québec!

Delegate general of Québec in Paris since last may, Michèle Boisvert was give the mission to double the trade between France and Quebec. Michèle Boisvert is De

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The French are always welcome in Québec!

Delegate general of Québec in Paris since last may, Michèle Boisvert was give the mission to double the trade between France and Quebec.

Michèle Boisvert is Delegate general of Québec in Paris since the 13th of may last. France, having recognized Quebec as a nation, it has the rank of ambassador, as the ambassador of Canada in France. An economist by training, a former journalist - she worked over twenty years at Radio-Canada, before joining the daily Press - this fifty-year old dynamic and warm was since 2012 first vice-president of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec a powerful lever of funding of the québec economy.

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in The spring of last year, the Prime minister François Legault has proposed to represent Quebec in Paris, one of the key positions in the diplomacy of québec. A challenge that Michèle Boisvert has agreed to take on with enthusiasm. We met her, seven months pile after its entry into function, and a few days after she had presented his letters of mission to the president of the Republic, at the Elysée.

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The Express : After seven months in Paris, what diagnosis do you wear on the franco-québécoise ?

Michèle Boisvert : In seven months, I have welcomed eleven ministers, as well as former Premiers Lucien Bouchard and Jean Charest, coming to attend the funeral of Jacques Chirac. This testifies to the intensity of the relationship, the depth of the link but also its diversity in topics covered - education, culture, economy, finance, regional development. This is sixty years ago that this link exists and I'm also struck by his maturity. It is a relationship of equals. France and Québec have a common interest to unite to weigh in on the major issues of the day - climate change, gender equality, defence of the francophonie. And also to share best practices : we have values and a language in common, but we approach things differently.

That can bring Quebec to the French, and the French and the Québécois ?

M. B. : Quebecers have a strong sense of innovation, a greater agility related to the youth of our nation. France is one of the biggest countries in the world, it brings with it depth, credibility, and the expertise of key researchers. Two examples of this. In the field of education, Quebec is very well positioned in the ranking of Pisa, our system is more flexible than yours, we leave to the children the right to error, we responsabilisons more. Jean-Michel Blanquer has often expressed his interest for the quebec model. Conversely, if our territory is rich in natural resources, we have not always managed to transform it in place. We wish to develop with us an industry lithium, gold the region Nova-Aquitaine is a centre of development of lithium batteries to Europe : we'll see how it works and maybe work together.

You have an economic profile. Your appointment is a strong signal from the government of Quebec. The Prime minister, Legault has given you the goal of doubling the trade between France and Quebec within five years. How are you going to do ?

M. B. : first, I will draw upon what has already been done and the seniority of the relationship, to use it as a lever. Each time, we will ask the question of economic development. It is not to the economy at the expense of culture or policy, but to systematically add this component in all our exchanges. Business people need to understand that the general Delegation of Quebec in Paris is there for them, that it is a rite of passage for québec entrepreneurs coming to France or the French entrepreneurs based in Quebec. Today, 70% of our trade is with the United States. It is essential to diversify, and in this context, think of France is indispensable. Especially as your country is a tremendous bridge-head to Europe. Just like Quebec to the rest of North America. We share the same goal : to create more wealth for our respective economies.

in this respect, the free trade agreement between Canada and the european Union-does it deliver its promises ?

M. B. : For France, no doubt : the first full year following the implementation of the Aacc, the exports from France to Canada grew by 14% compared to the average of the previous three years. And the excess of france's balance of trade with Canada jumped 26 percent compared to the average of the previous three years. As for exports from France to Quebec, they increased by 14% in 2018 compared to 2017. The quotas granted for the export of French cheeses to Canada were operated at 99%. Conversely, those of Canada to export beef to Europe, were only 5%. Companies such as Decathlon, which has just opened its third store in Quebec, have been encouraged by the Aacc to traverser the Atlantic.

>>> READ ALSO : who really benefits the Aacc?

What is your assessment of the last Days in Quebec, which were held on 1 and 2 December in Paris ?

M. B. : We had 122 companies, 17 industries and for the first time, a dozen regions. More than 13 000 people had applied, and about 3,000 jobs farms were proposed. By 2018, 800 people had found a job thanks to the two editions of the Days of Quebec ; with families it's been about 1200 people who came with us. For this year, we should reach the 1000 people employed. We work with our partner Pôle Emploi International on the development of the Journées Québec regions by 2021.

immigration, Québec has launched a number of contradictory signs in recent months. What can you say of the French ?

M. B. : The French are always welcome in Québec ! We still want to French, we want a lot : because you speak the same language, you have a good level of education, and you will love the Quebec. This intention facilitates the integration. France is the only country with which Québec has an agreement of mutual recognition of qualifications for 82 occupations. For the French students, the tuition fees in the 1st cycle are the same as for domestic students, and the 2nd and 3rd cycle they are the same as for quebec students. There are agreements between the French social Security and our health insurance plan. There could be confusion because the quebec government has announced a reduction in the number of immigrants from 50 000 to 40 000, but it is to better integrate, and better respond to the needs of the labour market. Moreover, the thresholds will begin to grow again. Quebec is a land of incredible welcome : we receive more immigrants than France and the United States, compared to our population.

The act 21 on secularism does not risk, does it not, to discourage prospective immigrants of muslim origin?

M. B. : This bill only concerns public servants in a position of authority : police, judges, prison guards and teachers in primary and secondary schools, in the exercise of their functions. For the rest of the population, nothing changes. This bill was requested by the quebec population, it responded to a concern, but it is in no way a closure of the quebec society.

>>> READ ALSO : Why Quebec wants to register secularism in the law ?

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France and Quebec have recently announced a major collaboration in the field of artificial intelligence. Why ?

M. B. : Montreal has established itself as the capital of the Canadian artificial intelligence, with some 300 researchers, 11 000 experts. With the Declaration of Montreal, and under the impulse of Yoshua Bengio, Quebec had been a pioneer on the requirement of an artificial intelligence responsible for, and the establishment of an observatory of practices. The G7 Charlevoix, in 2018, the president Macron and Prime minister Trudeau had introduced the idea of a global Partnership on this issue, and this summer in Biarritz, it was agreed to create two centres of expertise, one in Paris, for the governance of the data, the other to Montreal for ethics. Six months from now, there will be announcements on the modalities of cooperation between these two centres. It is a very good example of the power of the coopération franco-québécoise.

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