The outgoing mayor of Quebec has received France’s highest international distinction.
On Saturday, Régis Labeaume received the medal of the French Legion of Honor during a ceremony at the town hall.
The Legion of Honor rewards people who have distinguished themselves in their services to France.
While awareness was initially reserved for heads of state and ambassadors, the appointment has since widened beyond the political and diplomatic sphere.
Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppé presented the prize to an emotional Labeaume yesterday afternoon. He mentioned Labeaume’s courage, humanity and wisdom, especially in his response to the shooting in a Quebec mosque in 2017 and the sword attack in Old Quebec in the Last Halloween.
Juppé and Labeaume got on well when they met during Labeaume’s travels in France, especially during his visit to the city of Bordeaux where Juppé was mayor from 2006 to 2019.
Juppé said the meetings led to various collaborations between the city of Bordeaux and the city of Quebec, both economic and academic.
“From our first contact, we had a connection,” Juppé said of Labeaume during the ceremony. “I liked your naturalness, your energy, your curiosity, your passion for the city for which you were responsible.”
Juppé said it was his pleasure to present the medal to his friend.
“Today, it is the French Republic which pays homage to the great mayor that you were for 14 years.”
Labeaume was visibly moved during the ceremony and stood surrounded by his family.
He said that as the son of a mechanic, being decorated with this award is a testament to the immense possibilities for the men and women of Quebec.
Labeaume will leave political life on November 7, the date on which he will end his last term as mayor.