French President Emmanuel Macron greets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he arrives at the Palais de l’Elysee in Paris, France Sunday November 11, 2018. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

REMEMBRANCE DAY

World leaders gather in Paris to mark 100 years since end of First World War

Emmanuel Macron told world leaders that nationalists threaten to erase the moral values a nation has by putting their own interests first

France’s president used a global commemoration of the end of the First World War to remind leaders today that the peace forged a century ago can be easily undone by rising nationalism wrapped in the mask of patriotism.

Emmanuel Macron told a gathering of more than 60 world leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that those among them who call themselves nationalists threaten to erase the moral values a nation has by putting their own interests first regardless of the effects on others.

The message seemed directed at U.S. President Donald Trump, who in recent weeks described himself as a nationalist.

Trump and Macron said during a meeting Saturday that they had calmed stormy waters after the two sparred over a trans-Atlantic military alliance, better known as NATO, and the American president’s continual unease about spending by member countries.

But Macron appeared to stir the seas anew in his speech, given as a cold rain pelted the French capital.

Macron warned how fragile peace can be in an age where the tensions that gave rise to four years of bloody battle, costing millions of lives, appear to be festering again. He told the assembled masses that the “traces of this war never went away.”

He urged the leaders present to promise their peoples that the resurgent ”old demons” would not be able to return, sowing “chaos and death.”

“New ideologies manipulate religions, push a contagious obscurantism,” he said. ”Sometimes, history threatens to retake its tragic course and threaten our heritage of peace that we believed we had definitively settled with our ancestors’ blood.”

Macron, Trudeau and other leaders came to Paris hoping to use the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War to renew calls to quash festering tensions across the globe.

“There is a general sense and desire among many countries, including Canada to do whatever is possible to sustain the institutions of the international order and practical, multilateral co-operation. And so you see that in Canada, you see that in Germany,” said Roland Paris, Trudeau’s former foreign adviser.

“Macron (is) essentially making that point: that we can sustain co-operation, we must sustain co-operation.”

READ MORE: First World War letters put a human face on the war that shaped us as a nation

Trudeau, who is on a 10-day trip across Europe and Asia, will come face-to-face with three of the nations sowing some of that tension: Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Trudeau spoke with Trump at a dinner Macron organized on Friday night — although government officials wouldn’t say the exact topic of conversation. Trudeau will also attend summits this week in Asia that Putin and Xi are scheduled to attend.

Trump did not shake Trudeau’s hand when he arrived with wife Melania at the iconic Arc de Triomphe. Neither Trump nor Putin walked a bit of the Champs-Elysee with other leaders after church bells rang out as the hour turned to 11 a.m. local time, marking the moment the guns fell silent across Europe a century ago.

Trudeau has had to navigate the mercurial American president, and on Sunday afternoon he will navigate that line again when he takes part in a panel discussion about freedom of the press — another group with whom Trump has frequently sparred.

The panel is part of a peace forum organized by Macron, described by France’s ambassador to Canada as intended to amplify the voices of non-governmental organizations and prod political leaders present to commit to Macron’s call for peace.

“If you’re not backed up by the highest political authority, nothing will happen,” Kareen Rispal said in an interview Friday.

“You have to get the real commitment from the political leaders.”

Rispal also said Trudeau’s appearance at the Arc de Triomphe ceremony would be a reminder of Canada’s contributions during the war, which aren’t always recognized in Europe.

Some 650,000 Canadians and Newfoundlanders served in the First World War, and more than 66,000 of them lost their lives. About 172,000 more were injured.

Others served behind the front lines, working with locals to aid the war effort.

“We as French, we as Europeans — I think we don’t value enough the effort made by the Canadians,” Rispal said in an interview Friday.

— With files from the Associated Press.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19 brings burning ban to Clearwater and area

The reason for the ban is to help reduce excess air pollution in populated air-sheds

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Kamloops-Thompson teachers to connect with parents to reveal plans for remote teaching

School district also asking parents to ensure children are practicing social distancing

Interior Health issues alert following confirmed COVID-19 case on WestJet flight

The public exposure alert comes following the March 21 WestJet flight from Calgary to Kamloops

Clearwater COVID-19 precautions update

Local groups and facilities taking measures to keep the public safe

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

‘Community is amazing’: Williams Lake woman organizes drive-by birthdays

With self-isolation the norm due to COVID-19 children are missing out

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

B.C. COVID-19 cases rise 92 to 884, one more death, 81 in care

Outbreak action underway in 12 long-term care homes

B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Vets expect to continue giving your fur buddies the help they need while social distancing

B.C. VIEWS: Small businesses need our help

Just as integral in neighbourhoods in Vancouver and Surrey as they are in Prince George or Kelowna

Most Read