The Government of Quebec proposes the celebration of an annual Francophonie Day as part of a three-year plan to strengthen French throughout the country. The province’s Treasury Board president, Sonia LeBel, said she suggests March 22 be designated as Francophonie Day in the National Assembly, creating an opportunity for Quebecers to learn more. on other French-speaking communities.
The proposal was part of an 80-point plan unveiled at a press conference last month where she outlined the role Quebec could play in supporting other French-speaking communities. “We are a minority in Canada. I think we have a responsibility to get to know each other better, to support each other better,” LeBel said, while asserting that supporting Francophones would not diminish Anglophone communities but would serve as a reminder that there are two official languages.
The government has also promised additional funding of 8 million Canadian dollars over three years for the promotion of the French language across Canada, for a total of 24.5 million Canadian dollars.
There are over 10 million Francophones in Canada, 2.7 million of whom live outside Quebec.
On the occasion of International Francophonie Day (March 20), Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued the following statement
“Today, the 35 International Day of La Francophonie, we join Francophones and Francophiles in Canada and around the world to celebrate the richness of the French language, a cornerstone of our country’s history, identity and heritage. This day also invites us to highlight the diversity of Francophone cultures and communities around the world.
“French is one of Canada’s two official languages – and the first official language of almost a quarter of Canadians. Francophone communities across the country are at the heart of our history and, through their many contributions, they continue to make Canada a more inclusive, prosperous and dynamic country.
“Through the French language, our country maintains strong ties with French-speaking communities around the world. As an active member of the International organization of Francophonie (OIF), Canada works closely with its French-speaking partners around the world to promote the French language and the diversity of French-speaking cultures, including in the digital sphere. Together, we also work to protect our common values of democracy, peace, human rights and solidarity.
“The Government of Canada recognizes the importance of promoting French and strengthening the vitality of Francophone communities across the country. This is why, this month, we tabled an improved bill to ensure the substantive equality of status of English and French in Canada. This vision of our linguistic duality and our bilingualism, which includes the establishment of Francophone immigration targets outside Quebec, is consistent with our desire to modernize the Official Languages Act.
“We will continue to work to modernize Canada’s language regime, to adapt it to today’s realities and to establish a new linguistic balance in the country. Our proposal to strengthen the Act is an important step in our efforts to help protect the French language, promote our two official languages, and revitalize minority communities and bilingualism across the country.
“This year, the International Day of La Francophonie is also an opportunity for us to express our support and our solidarity with Ukraine, which has observer status with the OIF, while its people are trying to secure its future in the face of the unjustifiable invasion of its territory by Russia.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I wish all Francophones and Francophiles in Canada and around the world a good International Francophonie Day. I encourage you to learn more about Canada and the Francophonieshare the hashtags #Francophoniedelavenir and #mon20mars on social networks, and participate in activities in your community to celebrate this important day.
The University of Ottawa marked the day by announcing that it will invest $5 million in the Francophonie on campus over the next five years to fund the hiring of new French-speaking professors and the development of new programs in French. The investment aims to “provide an exceptional learning environment for French-speaking students”.