PARIS — The three-day mission led by the prime minister François Legault in Paris can be summed up in one word: economy.
The highlight of this mission was held on Tuesday, the Paris stock Exchange, a dinner-conference to which were invited about 350 guests, mainly executives of major French companies, including Ubisoft and Michelin, and groups of business people. Québec companies with a foothold in Paris, such as Moment Factory, were also represented.
There was no empty space in the vast room, and the prime minister has delivered a speech to flavor strictly economic, in trying to attract investors in Quebec and more interest in the French for québec products.
In front of his audience, one who describes himself as “a prime minister economic” depicts Quebec as “the best place in the world” where to invest, thanks to its many assets: the rule of law, low-cost electricity, many universities, tax credits and direct financial assistance, in particular.
In a press briefing later, he said he wanted to “explode” investments in Quebec in the next four years, showing himself to be much more “aggressive” than has been done in the past, “because we have a economic catch-up to do” in terms of wealth creation.
He said to leave Paris “pockets full of business cards”.
His speech was eight pages and the word “economy” is back to 18 times.
Not surprisingly, the assistance, largely following in the business community, has obviously enjoyed the style of the one who is now at the controls of Quebec.
“His speech was extremely well received,” according to Dominique Restino, president of the Paris Chamber of commerce, who said that he was convinced that Mr. Legault had seduced his audience. “I drank his words!”, he added during a brief media scrum.
Mr. Legault insisted to say how his government would focus on economic development, including when it comes to its international relations and the relationship between France and Québec.
“This emphasis on economic government must be felt in all our actions,” said Mr. Legault in his speech, as he had done on all the forums since Sunday.
During these three days, each time he took the floor, Mr. Legault was draining in less than two the other aspects of the relationship between France and Québec (diplomacy, politics, culture, language, immigration) to extend at length on what the really wanted: to talk about business, investment, trade.
If he speaks of the Francophonie, that is to say that it could become “the economic powerhouse of the african continent”. It might remind you of the importance of the promotion of the French language, this will be “first in the world of business”. If he announces an overhaul of Québec’s international policy, that is to say that the delegations will count toward the “more reps”. If he speaks of immigration, it will be to recall his intention of use of the future test of French mandatory in order to better select the candidates, “according to the needs of the business.”
In short, everything goes through the prism of the economy.
The prime minister also recalled his “obsession” to raise the average salary in Québec, by creating jobs, “quality” paid at least $ 50,000 per year, focusing in priority on the manufacturing sector, new technologies and artificial intelligence.
For Mr. Legault, in the position for only three months, it was a first mission focused primarily on making contacts. He has made no announcement of the investment, but he said he was optimistic of being able to conclude agreements in the coming months.
On Wednesday, the prime minister will initiate the second phase of its mission, by participating in the world economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland.