In a press conference on November 3, Premier François Legault addressed an ongoing debate about, as he put it, "defending secularism or defending multiculturalism."

"It's clear where we stand, we're going to defend the fundamental values of the Quebec nation like freedom of expression, like secularism," he said.

His comment came the day after a new trial began before the province's Superior Court challenging Quebec's controversial secularism law, also known as Bill 21.

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The Quebec nation has values, we have a right to defend those values [...] and it's not true that in the name of multiculturalism we're going to put that aside.

Premier François Legault

Legault also spoke about a teacher who was recently reported to have been beheaded in France for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.

Legault said French President Emmanuel Macron thanked him by phone for Quebec's response, specifically "the clear position we took in defence of freedom of expression, without any hesitation."

Legault also stressed that he "doesn't agree" with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's "reservations when it comes to condemning what happened in France." 

"Faced with blackmail from certain radical religious groups, [certain political leaders] are ready to make unreasonable accommodations," he said.

One reporter pointed out that, without naming him, Legault was sending a message to Trudeau.

Another asked if Legault thought Trudeau "lends himself" to the type of blackmail Legault described.

Legault responded by asserting that Quebec's priority is defending its values of freedom of expression, secularism and the French language.  

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