Address by Minister Paradis: Reception on the Margins of the 29th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie

November 7, 2013 - Paris, France

Check Against Delivery

Our reunion this evening, on the margins of the Ministerial Conference, will kick off our next year together in La Francophonie.

This will take us to the 2014 Summit in Dakar.

The work of our Senegalese colleagues in preparing for this summit is already well under way, for which I commend them.

I look forward to travelling to Dakar in a few days to express my support to the Senegalese people and to reiterate Canada's support in staging this major event.

The Dakar summit will be an ideal opportunity to discuss the important future of our organization.

Canada is proud to be a member of an organization that is now more structured, more transparent and more vigorous in applying its basic principles.

La Francophonie is a multilateral body that assumes full responsibility as a key stakeholder in the conduct of international relations.

One that supports the strengthening of democratic principles, respect for human rights and good governance.

All of which are important Canadian values.

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, I recently assumed responsibility for La Francophonie within the Government of Canada.

This mandate goes hand in hand with my other portfolio—minister responsible for international development.

I intend to focus in particular on sustainable economic development and creating more opportunities for developing countries.

Our objective is to deliver concrete results that can help a larger number of people overcome poverty.

This will require innovation and openness to projects that bring together various partners, including the private sector.

I am also committed to continuing to develop Canada's role among the leaders within La Francophonie.

We were present when the institutions of La Francophonie were created, and we remain committed to our role within this organization, which continues to evolve and expand.

Canada is also doing its part to strengthen La Francophonie's economic dimension by negotiating free trade agreements, and foreign investment promotion and protection agreements with some of your countries.

We are working toward expanding the circle of francophone countries with which we can align our trade and investment policies.

Over the coming year, we will have the enormous task of implementing the economic strategy our countries are working on at this time.

All members of La Francophonie must play a role in this unprecedented mandate to develop a viable and sound economic dimension.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate how honoured we are that you have joined us this evening.

I would also like to thank Secretary General Abdou Diouf for all of the work he has done within our organization.

Although we are very sad to see him go, everyone here knows what an encouragement his accomplishments will be to us in the years to come.

First will be the next major La Francophonie gathering in Dakar, in 2014.

I hope to have the opportunity to work with all of you before then.

I hope we have an excellent second day of work at the Ministerial Conference tomorrow and a productive year within La Francophonie.

Thank you.