OTTAWA, Ontario — French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Thursday that his country supports the election of Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. presidential election.
Valls said during a visit to Ottawa that he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have discussed the U.S. election. Valls didn’t share Trudeau’s thoughts, but he was categorical about his pick in the Nov. 8 election: Clinton.
Valls, speaking in French, said U.S. President Barack Obama was “elected by the world” and “Trump is rejected by the world.”
The surprising statement by the French leader ahead of the U.S. election is against standard international diplomatic practice.
Trudeau has long said he would work with the next American president whoever it is and he repeated that Thursday.
But with allegations of sexually predatory behavior swirling around Trump, Trudeau — a self-avowed feminist — said he “has stood clearly and strongly all my life around issues of sexual harassment.”
The two prime ministers were heading to Montreal later Thursday for discussions with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard about the Canada-EU free trade deal.
Valls said he expects Trudeau to be in Brussels on Oct. 27 to sign the deal.
Trudeau called the deal a “win-win” for both sides.
“It’s a progressive agreement that heralds a new approach with regard to defending the rights of governments to legislate on the environment, the rights of workers, the issues that our constituents care about,” he said.
Trudeau pointedly urged Europe to sign the deal.
“If Europe cannot manage to sign this agreement, that sends a very clear message not only to Europeans but to the whole world that Europe is choosing a path that is not productive either for its citizens or for the world,” he said. “That would be a shame.”
Climate change and the Canada-EU free trade deal have been singled out by Trudeau’s office as being among Canada’s top priorities.
Speaking to reporters at the French Embassy, Valls also reiterated France’s desire to see Canada send peacekeepers to West Africa to join the fight against Islamic militants. The Trudeau government has said it will commit 600 peacekeepers to U.N. missions, and France has been pushing Canada to join the U.N. mission in West Africa.