15 October 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced today that he will visit Switzerland and Ukraine. In Switzerland, he will meet with Doris Leuthard, President of the Swiss Federation, in Bern, and take part in the 13th Francophonie Summit in Montreux from October 22 to 24. Following the Summit, he will travel to Ukraine from October 25 to 26.
"Canada is committed to promoting and preserving the French language both at home and on the international stage," said Prime Minister Harper. "We will continue working on these objectives at the Francophonie Summit and also support the Organization’s active involvement in important global issues."
The Prime Minister will hand over presidency of the Summit, which Canada hosted in Quebec City in 2008, to Switzerland at the onset of the Summit meetings.
The overarching theme of this year’s Summit is "Défis et visions d’avenir pour la Francophonie" (outlook and challenges that lie ahead for the Francophonie). Participants will discuss the Organization’s participation in international relations, sustainable development and the French language in this era of globalization.
Representatives of some 70 states and governments of countries using French as a common language will take part in the Francophonie Summit in Montreux.
The Prime Minister will be accompanied to the Francophonie Summit by Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie.
During his meeting with the President of the Swiss Federation, Doris Leuthard, the Prime Minister will discuss important bilateral issues.
The Prime Minister will also travel to Ukraine at the invitation of President Viktor Yanukovych. "I look forward to my meetings with President Yanukovych and others, and to gaining a better understanding of Ukraine, the ancestral homeland of so many Canadians, with its unique society and culture."