Trudeau slated to speak with Macron amid furor over his response to attacks in France

French President Emmanuel Macron greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he arrives in Paris, France Sunday November 11, 2018. Canada's focus on gender at the G7 summit last year has translated into a successful legacy for the annual meeting of world leaders. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is speaking with French President Emmanuel Macron today after criticism in both Canada and France that he has not done enough to defend free expression in response to extremist violence there.

The conversation comes one week after three people were killed in a deadly knife assault in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

The incident marked the third gruesome attack in five weeks that French authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, amid a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Trudeau waited more than a week after the Oct. 16 beheading of a French school teacher before expressing solidarity with France, and hedged his condemnation of last week's knife attack by stressing that free speech has its limits.

That drew backlash from media in France and in Quebec, where politicians' unequivocal denunciations prompted a thank-you call Tuesday from Macron to Premier Francois Legault.

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet says today's conversation between Trudeau and Macron kicks off a necessary healing process, but fears it may come off as insincere.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 5, 2020.

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