SNC-Lavalin CEO delays Montreal speech so he can add more French content

Ian Edwards, who has lived in Montreal for seven years, was due to speak at the Canadian Club of Montreal on Monday

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The CEO of the engineering giant SNC-Lavalin has postponed a speech that he planned to give to the Canadian club in Montreal in the wake of news reports that he planned to give a mainly English speech.

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Ian Edwards, who has lived in Montreal for seven years, sent a letter to the organization representing business leaders in the country on Thursday, saying he wants to spend more time rehearsing his presentation and making sure there is more French. contents.

Edwards, who was named the top job in October 2019, was due to speak next Monday. He had taken platitudes from several commentators after reports surfaced that he was planning to give a speech to the Canadian club in Montreal that did not have much, if any, French content.

“After my arrival in Quebec in 2014, I followed French courses with mixed results,” the letter writes. “Recently, during a meeting of our board at the end of October, I had already committed myself to making the necessary efforts to follow language training to the best of my ability.”

The report came after Air Canada CEO Michael Rousseau handed over one English only last week to the Montreal Chamber of Commerce and later said he was able to live 14 years in the city without speaking French and did not have time to learn the language.

Rousseau apologized, but the incident ignited a firestorm of backlash from political circles.

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