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Quebec Solidaire Leader Amir Khadir in the legislature on May 25, 2011. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)
Quebec Solidaire Leader Amir Khadir in the legislature on May 25, 2011. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press/Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)

Quebec MNA bristles at cost of welcoming 'parasites' Will and Kate Add to ...

Not everyone in Canada is looking forward to hosting royal newlyweds.

"What a waste of public funds," Amir Khadir, a Québec Solidaire member of the province's National Assembly, said in an interview with the Journal de Québec on the upcoming tour of recently wedded Prince William and Kate.

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"All this to welcome these parasites!"

Mr. Khadir, an outspoken politician whose remarks have put him in the spotlight before, deplored the expenditure of public funds on the couple's visit - their first international foray since their wedding last month.

"If we were welcoming someone because he had extraordinary ideas or had done remarkable things, I'd like that," the newspaper quotes him as saying. "But to do this with someone who has blue blood, whose sole merit is his ancestry, that bothers me."

William and Kate plan to visit Montreal and Quebec City July 2 and 3, after spending Canada Day in Ottawa.

Quebec's Minister of Foreign Relations and Minister of La Francophonie, Monique Gagnon-Tremblay, welcomed their visit, which is already garnering the attention of dozens of international journalists seeking accreditation for the tour. She said the province would cover part of the cost of their tour, although she didn't specify the exact amount. She called the visit a chance to put the belle province on display.

That incensed Mr. Khadir even more, who compared the parading of the royal couple to a "circus" meant to attract tourist.

But some groups have already planned anti-monarchist demonstrations for their brief Quebec visit: Réseau de résistance du Québécois and Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste have both planned to turn out.

"The majority of Québécois reject the British monarchy, an outdated, undemocratic institution that costs Quebec taxpayers a fortune and represents the exploitation of so many people over the course of the history of the British Empire," the RRQ's Julien Gaudreau said in a statement.

The organization plans to transport people from across the province to a July 3 demonstration at in Quebec City. Hundreds of anti-monarchist protesters also greeted Prince Charles during his 2009 visit to the province. Protests during the Queen's visit in 1964 are still remembered in Quebec as "Truncheon Saturday" for the clashes that erupted between demonstrators and police.

As "internationally protected persons," the royal couple will get a 24-hour security detail from the RCMP. The mounties are responsible for "motorcades and bodyguards, operational support and joint coordination of intelligence and investigations," said spokeswoman Julie Gagnon, who couldn't give an estimate on how much this would cost over the course of the couple's nine-day, seven-city cross-country tour.

"The RCMP will also work with its partners to ensure that peace and public order are maintained through a measured approach during the course of the Royal visit," she said.

The opposition Parti Québécois, for its part, has argued William and Kate are welcome if they pay their own way.

A spokeswoman for Ms. Gagnon-Tremblay said it's too early to tell what the couple's visit will cost the province, as details of their itinerary have yet to be finalized.

With most royal visits, the federal government pays the bulk of the cost but shares the final price tag with the provinces, who also pay for whatever activities the royal visitors participate in.

Ottawa paid $2.79-million to over the Queen's tour in 2010, and $1.44-million to cover Prince Charles' tour the year before.

"Cost sharing agreements are being worked out between the government of Canada and the provinces and territory being visited," said Heritage Canada spokseman Tim Warmington. "As the details for this tour are still in development, the cost for this visit is not finalized. As with all royal tours, the final costs are made public once the royal tour is over."

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