Trudeau and Macron speak after cartoon remark controversy

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Emmanuel Macron bids farewell to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as he leaves the Elysee presidential PalaceImage source, AFP via Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken with his French counterpart amid controversy over recent comments he made about free expression.

Mr Trudeau expressed Canada's solidarity with "the people of France" following the recent terror attacks.

A teacher was beheaded in a Paris suburb after showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad to some of his pupils.

Mr Trudeau's remarks last week about freedom of expression were criticised in both Canada and France.

French President Emmanuel Macron's defence of the publication of the cartoons sparked protests in some Muslim-majority countries.

There have been calls in some countries for a boycott of French goods.

What did Trudeau say last week?

Mr Trudeau condemned the recent attacks in France, including a deadly knife attack on a church in Nice, the third suspected Islamist attack in the country in little more than a month.

But in a response to question about the right to show a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed, he said "freedom of expression is not without limits".

"We owe it to ourselves to act with respect for others and to seek not to arbitrarily or unnecessarily injure those with whom we are sharing a society and a planet."

He added: "We do not have the right for example to shout fire in a movie theatre crowded with people, there are always limits."

What was Macron's reaction?

On Tuesday, Mr Macron spoke by phone with the premier of the Canadian province of Quebec, Francois Legault, to thank him for his words of support in the wake of the attacks.

Mr Legault said he had "condemned without reservation" what had taken place in France.

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But Mr Macron did not place a call to Mr Trudeau that day - seen as a snub by the French leader, especially as both men are viewed as like-minded political allies.

Mr Trudeau has since clarified his earlier remarks, saying "it is important to continue defending freedom of expression, freedom of speech".

He added: "Our artists help us reflect and challenge our views and they contribute to our society, and we will always continue to defend freedom of expression."

What about the call today?

Mr Trudeau and Mr Macron spoke by phone on Thursday, suggesting the two leaders were mending fences over the remarks.

According to a readout from the prime minister's office, Mr Trudeau "expressed Canada's solidarity with the people of France following recent terrorist attacks and violence" and the two "agreed on the importance of defending freedom of expression and human rights and on their shared commitment to fighting terrorism and violent extremism".