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Monarchy still has role, PM says

LONDON

da's relationship with the monarchy might be a "theoretical" problem, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said yesterday after the Queen Mother's funeral, but it is not a practical one.

Speaking to reporters at a London hotel, dressed in his black suit and black tie after the Westminster Abbey service, the Prime Minister was asked in French whether the monarchy still has a role to play in Canada.

"It's not a problem now because we have a governor-general who is named by the prime minister and is a citizen of Canada," Mr. Chrétien said.

"The system works well. Perhaps from a theoretical point of view, [there is] a problem, but not from a practical viewpoint," he said.

In his brief news conference, Mr. Chrétien paid tribute to the Queen Mother's "good sense of humour" and her way of "enjoying life." He also said she could have taught some Canadians a thing or two about bilingualism.

"She always talked in French with me," he said. "For me it was always pleasant because, you know, it was a good lesson to some Canadians -- she spoke beautiful French." Speaking in French, he described the Queen Mother's mastery of the language as "impeccable."

The Prime Minister said her funeral was "a very solemn occasion . . . very simple and very much a tribute to a great lady."

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