Canada not to support former governor general for la Francophonie re-election

Mindy Sparks
October 13, 2018

Members of the worldwide organization of French-speaking countries will choose between Jean, who has held the position since 2014, and Mushikiwabo, who has served as Rwanda's foreign affairs minister since 2009, during la Francophonie's summit in Armenia on October 11-12.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who travelled to Yerevan with Quebec premier-designate Francois Legault, met with Jean soon after landing Wednesday.

After a four-year term marked by controversy, the former governor general was considered a long shot for re-election.

Should Ms Jean concede, then the vote will be avoided and Ms Mushikiwabo will be declared the new secretary general.

But, Jean has refused to back down despite her chances of securing another term being described as slim. Jean asked. "Are we ready to accept that democracy, rights and freedoms are reduced to mere words, that we make them meaningless in the name of realpolitik?"

Leblanc had said on the weekend that Jean had no intention of dropping out.

In a speech today at the Francophonie summit, Jean urged representatives of member nations not to allow global organizations to be used for partisan purposes.

Several federal government sources recently told The Canadian Press the re-election of Jean, who was chosen in 2014 in part due to the absence of a clear African front-runner, would be "difficult".

The candidacy is controversial because of Rwanda's poor human-rights record and the fact Rwanda replaced French with English in its education curriculum in 2010.

"I imagine that Madame Jean thinks that she has to prove herself, and she's doing this on principle", Coulon said.

In a comment to Post Media, Jocelyn Coulon, a Quebec scholar and political analyst sums up the Canadian position saying, "Do we want to jeopardize our relations with African countries at the moment that we are looking for votes for our bid at the (United Nations) Security Council?" he said. As many as 38 countries are represented by their president or prime minister at the Yerevan summit.

Mushikiwabo, who is not a member of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) party, says she is proud to have played a role in opening her country to the world, and specifically working towards Rwanda's return to its "heritage of French-speaking Central Africa".

Canada also had to consider its relationship with France.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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