November 03, 2014 - 9:16 AM
OTTAWA - Canada's Parliament was "defiled" last month when a gunman killed a soldier at the National War Memorial and stormed Centre Block, says French President Francois Hollande.
Hollande was addressing Parliament today before scheduled visits to Montreal and Quebec City.
He also saluted Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, the man who ultimately took down the attacker, saying his actions are now known the world over.
"This seat of democracy ... was defiled on Oct. 22 by a terrorist-inspired attack, the ultimate goal of which was to attack the very idea of freedom, which this Parliament represents," Hollande said.
"I salute the courage of Kevin Vickers, who is known all across the world."
Earlier, the French president placed a wreath at the National War Memorial.
On Sunday, Hollande expressed his sorrow for the deaths of two Canadian soldiers as he started the first leg of his state visit to Canada with a tour of Alberta's Banff National Park by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, where the two leaders also held talks.
The two were killed last month in separate incidents in what police have described as terrorist attacks.
Harper referenced last month's attack on Parliament and the National War Memorial as he introduced Hollande to a special joint session of Parliament.
Harper told Parliament ahead of Hollande's speech that they discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression in Ukraine, the "urgency of dealing with climate change" and the ongoing Ebola crisis.
Hollande and Harper will also address a business luncheon on Ottawa this afternoon.
Hollande is accompanied by several cabinet ministers and a large business and academic delegation.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2014