François Hollande says Quebec, France must invest in future partnership

French President François Hollande higlighted the shared economic and cultural interests between Quebec and France as he addressed Quebec's National Assembly on Tuesday.

Friendship between France and Quebec is more than 'nostalgia' says French president

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard and French President Francois Hollande arrive at Bassin Brown in Quebec City for a presentation with Laval University. (Francis Vachon/CP)

French President FrançoisHollande says Quebec and France must focus on strengthening their partnership for the benefit of future generations.

Hollande continued his tour of Canada on Tuesday with stops in Quebec City and Montreal.

During an address to the National Assembly, Hollande highlighted the shared culture and language between France and Quebec.

French President François Hollande addresses Parliament in the House of Commons Monday in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/CP)

"The relationship between French and Quebec is hard to describe. This relationship is unique. We have forged it over all of history,” he said.

He said the two governments must look to the future of "La Francophonie," and move beyond regrets of the past.

"Our friendship is not based in nostalgia over what could have been more than 400 years ago," Hollande said.

Hollande said the one word that can sum up the relationship between Quebec and France is "unique."

The French president's address touched on the historic ties between the two populations, their similar economic issues, as well as climate change and the future of the French-speaking world.

He ended his speech on a note of love.

"Thank you for loving France. We love you back."

StéphaneBédard, the leader of the Official Opposition party, hailed Hollande's visit as a "historic" occasion. 

The president of the National Assembly, Jacques Chagnon, welcomed the French leader while highlighting the “visceral" connection between France and Quebec.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard referred to the "fraternal relationship" between France and Quebec.

Couillard nodded to the common struggles of both populations, including economic difficulties.

Hollande wants Canada to act on climate change

After his visit to the National Assembly, Hollande is expected to head to Montreal, where he will tour of a digital arts centre.

Monday in Ottawa, Hollande said he wants to see Canada taking an active role in helping the world achieve a major climate change agreement.

The French president said he doesn't want to see Canada deferring active participation on the environment until after the next federal election, set for October 2015.

In a speech to a joint session of Parliament, Hollande said the world must act to bring down greenhouse gas emissions caused by fossil fuels.

For his part, Prime Minister Harper touted Canada's sector-by-sector approach and success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the Alberta oilsands and banning coal-fired electricity generation.

With files from The Canadian Press