Montreal

Paris attacks: Philippe Couillard asks for international co-operation

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard talked Canada's foreign policy Saturday following the Paris attacks which saw terrorists kill 127 people Friday.

'We have to play the role that our partners want us to play,' Quebec premier says

Premier Couillard told reporters that Canada must work together with the international community to fight terrorism.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard believes the international community, including Canada, must respond accordingly to the Paris attacks, which saw terrorists kill 127 people Friday.

Couillard criticized what he described as the "failure of the unilateral approach in trying to solve the Iraq-Syria question," and re-affirmed his position that the world should work together to fight ISIS.

In 2014, he supported former Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to join the combat mission against ISIS.

On Nov. 6, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan stating that Canada's top priority is to end Canada's combat mission in Iraq and Syria and pull Canada out of the anti-ISIS coalition.

The worst we can do is put up a banner saying, "No to refugees." I'd like a banner saying, "We can take you in our society and treat you better."- Philippe Couillard

"We have to be part of an international coalition, an international movement and play the role that our partners want us to play, and I'm sure most Canadians will agree with this," he said.

Couillard made the comments at a media scrum before the start of the provincial Liberals' general council meeting in Quebec City Saturday morning, stressing repeatedly that he hoped that Syrian refugees coming to the province should not be scapegoated by misdirected wrath.

"The people coming to Quebec and Canada are themselves victims. Some have seen parents die before their eyes. They come here for freedom," he said.

"The worst we can do is put up a banner saying, 'No to refugees.' I'd like a banner saying, 'We can take you in our society and treat you better.'"

Couillard also said that he hoped that anti-Muslim sentiment would not flare up in Quebec as a result of the Paris attacks.

"Every society has its demons. We have our own and they are similar to other societies that's why its important for other leader to step forward and say no to xenophobia and racism yes to security," said Couillard.

"This movement has shown its capacity to hit at many places at the same time, so we must be safe and yet sill keep our liberties," he said.

Couillard said that Quebecers are being kept safe. "The security forces are already on high alert. I wont give details," he said.  "When we face a mortal enemy, we have to fight it with proportional force."

Terrorist alert level low

The terrorist alert level has been set at A in Quebec, which is considered one of the lowest, according to Municipal Affairs Minister Pierre Moreau.

The designation means that Montreal police, provincial police and RCMP are sharing more information than usual and keeping a close eye on social media and suspicious movements. 

"People can feel safe because there's no indication of a higher-than-usual terrorist threat on our territory," said Moreau. 

He echoed Couillard's reassurances that Syrian refugees coming to Quebec should not be subject to undue suspicions following the Paris attacks. 

Moreau could not provide specific details of what type of investigation process that federal authorities would subject the the incoming refugees to.

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