Statement by the Prime Minister on the occasion of the Journée internationale de la Francophonie

Ottawa, Ontario
19 March 2008

Prime Minister Stephen Harper made the following statement today to mark the Journée internationale de la Francophonie :

"I am pleased to join with Canadians and all of our extended family in the Francophonie on this day when we celebrate our attachment to the French language and the Francophone culture.

For Canada, 2008 is a very special year, because in addition to celebrating together the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City, we are getting ready to host the 12th Francophone Summit in Quebec City. Ever since the Francophonie was founded in 1970, Canada has played a leading role in expanding the Francophonie's outreach at the international level. It is an honour for Canada to host the upcoming Francophone Summit in Quebec City, from October 17 to 19, 2008.

Canada is proud to be a part of this prominent community of 68 states and Governments, and to work on behalf of a modern, effective Francophonie. Canada places special importance on promoting cultural and linguistic diversity within this international body, as well as democratic development, human rights, strengthening the rule of law, and peace and human security.

The 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City reminds us that French is Canada's founding language. Since that date, we truly began to become what we are today, as the founding of Quebec City also marks the founding of the Canadian state.

So, the year 2008 is an opportunity for us to let the rest of the world discover the vitality and vibrancy of all of Canada's Francophone communities, in every region, and to highlight how much the contribution of the nine million French-speaking Canadians has marked both our country's history and its future.

I wish all of you an excellent Journée internationale de la Francophonie"