Premier scolds one of his ministers for speaking English in Toronto

Francois Legault

Premier François Legault laid into one of his ministers on Wednesday for delivering a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade— in English only.

Economy minister Pierre Fitzgibbon was in Toronto on Tuesday to deliver the speech, but many Quebec nationalists roasted him on social media afterward because the speech did not include any French.

The goal of the speech was to strengthen economic ties between Quebec and Ontario.

Typically, Quebec ministers will throw in at least a paragraph or two in French when they're speaking outside Quebec — in keeping with the notion that Quebec is a French province.

On Wednesday, Legault told reporters that as a representative of Quebec, Fitzgibbon has a duty to speak at least some French while outside the province, to send the message that the language of business in Quebec is French.

In an interview with the Journal de Montréal, Fitzgibbon explained that he was speaking to an English audience, and spoke English out of respect for that audience.

A short time later, he tweeted an apology, saying that his future speeches will include "important passages" in French, no matter where he is.

In 2014, Legault famously scolded then-premier Philippe Couillard for delivering an English-only speech to an audience in Iceland.