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Harper tells France to stay out of 
unity debate 

[PoliticsWatch updated 6:30 p.m., January 22, 2007]

French presidential candidate Segolene Royal.

OTTAWA  — Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a rare warning to a foreign politician late Monday afternoon.  

The PMO released a statement criticizing the comment of French presidential candidate Segolene Royal, who told reporters in Paris that she was sympathetic to the Quebec sovereignty cause. 

The Canadian Press reported that Royal said Quebec and France have common values, including "sovereignty and Quebec's freedom.''

She made the comments shortly after a meeting with Parti Quebecois Leader Andre Boisclair

"Experience teaches that it is highly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in the democratic affairs of another country," Harper said in a statement. 

The PM then went further and seemed to suggest he wanted to avoid a repeat of former French president Charles DeGualle's 1967 "Vive le Quebec libre" comments, which damaged diplomatic relations between the two countries at the time. 

He noted that soon Canada will mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Canada at Quebec City with the next President of France.

“We expect in turn that the next President will display an understanding of our shared history, and the respect for Canada and Canadians that such an important partnership requires.”

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