Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume awarded French Legion of Honour
Former French prime minister Alain Juppé presented the award
The outgoing mayor of Quebec City has received France's highest international honour.
On Saturday, Régis Labeaume was awarded the medal of the French Legion of Honour during a ceremony at city hall.
The Legion of Honour rewards people who have distinguished themselves in their services provided to France.
Though the award was initially reserved for heads of state and ambassadors, the appointment has since broadened beyond the political and diplomatic sphere.
Former French prime minister Alain Juppé presented the award to an emotional Labeaume yesterday afternoon. He mentioned Labeaume's courage, humanity and wisdom — notably in the way he responded to the shooting at a Quebec City mosque in 2017 and the sword attack in Old Quebec last Halloween.
Juppé and Labeaume hit it off when they met during Labeaume's trips to France, particularly his visit to the city of Bordeaux where Juppé served as mayor from 2006 to 2019.
Juppé said the encounters led to various collaborations between the City of Bordeaux and Quebec City, both economic and academic.
"From our first contact, we had a connection," Juppé said of Labeaume during the ceremony. "I liked your naturalness, your energy, your curiosity, your passion for the city you were responsible for."
Juppé said it was his pleasure to present the medal to his friend.
"Today, it is the French Republic which pays homage to the great mayor that you were for 14 years."
Labeaume was visibly moved during the ceremony and stood surrounded by his family.
He said that as the son of a mechanic, to be decorated with this award speaks to the immense possibilities for men and women from Quebec.
Labeaume will leave political life behind on November 7, when he wraps up his last term as mayor.
With files from Radio-Canada's Félix Morrissette-Beaulieu