French President Emmanuel Macron to visit Moncton in July

French President Emmanuel Macron will be visiting Moncton this summer, the French ambassador to Canada confirmed Thursday. (John Thys/Reuters - image credit)
French President Emmanuel Macron will be visiting Moncton this summer, the French ambassador to Canada confirmed Thursday. (John Thys/Reuters - image credit)

Premier Blaine Higgs is suggesting that a controversial European trip by his tourism minister last fall helped convince the president of France to visit New Brunswick.

Higgs appeared to confirm in the legislature Thursday that Emmanuel Macron will visit the province — a trip that has been the subject of speculation for three years, but that had not been officially announced.

Later in the day France's ambassador to Canada, Michel Miraillet, who was attending a D-Day ceremony in Moncton, confirmed to Radio-Canada that Macron will visit the city in July.

Higgs was defending Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace's trip to England and France last September when he disclosed the Macron trip.

Scott-Wallace's travel generated controversy over her deputy minister's large expense claim, which included the cost of a visit to the Palace of Versailles.

Higgs bragged that the province's population and economic growth are giving it a higher profile and "this trip to Paris may have been the icing on the cake," Higgs said.

Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace speaking in the legislature for a second day about expenses claimed by her deputy minister, Yenna Hurley. Hurley is sitting front left in this photo.
Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace speaking in the legislature for a second day about expenses claimed by her deputy minister, Yenna Hurley. Hurley is sitting front left in this photo.

Tourism Minister Tammy Scott-Wallace took heat for her trip to Europe. Premier Blaine Higgs is now suggesting it may have played a role in bringing Macron to the province, despite the fact that's been in the works for three years. (Legislative Assembly of New Brunswick)

"This is the first time the minister has travelled — travelled abroad, gone to different countries, gone to different places — but it's the first time the president of that country comes to New Brunswick. … That's pretty impressive."

A visit by the French president has in fact been a subject of speculation since 2021, when he named acclaimed Acadian author Antonine Maillet a commander of the French Legion of Honour during a visit to France by an Acadian delegation.

The delegation said at the time it would invite Macron to attend the World Acadian Congress taking place in Nova Scotia this summer.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau officially announced Macron's Moncton visit late Thursday.

Macron will not be the first president of France to visit New Brunswick.

François Mitterrand made a brief stop in the province as part of a Canadian visit in 1987, and Jacques Chirac attended the Francophonie Summit in Moncton in 1999.