Statement on International Francophonie Day

OTTAWA — Today, the Green Party of Canada celebrates the international influence of our francophone culture that unites over 300 million people and includes some 88 member states on five continents, all sharing a common use of the French language.

“Protecting and promoting the French language in Quebec, and throughout Canada’s vibrant french-speaking communities, benefits all Canadians,” stated Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands). “Francophone culture enriches our lives and offers Canada a unique opportunity to collaborate with French-speaking communities worldwide on shared challenges such as food security, immigration and the climate crisis.”

“Canada’s contributions to the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) in 2018 helped support a number of innovative projects including the adoption of a strategy for La Francophonie on gender equality and the delivery of innovative youth engagement initiatives such as the second International Conference of Francophone Youth. These are good initiatives, but we would like to see a more robust strategy developed to address the climate crisis.”

According to the Census Canada 2016, French is the mother tongue of 7.2 million Canadians – 20.6 per cent of the population. Joey Leckman, Quebec spokesperson for the Green Party of Canada said: “Research shows that learning more than one language benefits the brain, not to mention culturally enriching any society. Being part of a bilingual country is something to be cherished, a source of accomplishment of which all Canadians can be proud.”

“Here in Canada, there is work to be done to protect and promote the French language across the country,” said Green Party Deputy Leader Daniel Green. “Canada is hailed as a bilingual country yet in reality there are limited channels for French-speaking Canadians to access francophone services outside of Quebec. The Ontario government’s recent decision to cancel funding for the proposed French-language university is a prime example. The federal government needs to invest in the creation and maintenance of francophone institutions such as schools, universities and hospitals and to ensure that French continues to be spoken and written in majority anglophone provinces.”

“As I travel across this vast country, I enjoy speaking with francophones, whether Acadians in the Maritimes, or franco-Manitobans in St. Boniface. And, of course, I am proud to represent my British Columbia francophone constituents in the House of Commons,” added Ms. May.