March 20, 2009 (12:45 p.m. EDT)
No. 73

Minister Verner Marks 39th Anniversary of International Francophonie

The Honourable Josée Verner, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie, today marked the 39th anniversary of the international Francophonie and paid tribute to all Canadians who have contributed in various ways to the Organization's development.

"Canada was actively involved in the creation and development of La Francophonie's many institutions," said Minister Verner. "This multilateral forum allows Canadians to increase their international influence in the areas of language, culture, the economy, the environment, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression, information technologies, education, distance learning and international cooperation.

"Canada was proud to host the 12th Francophonie Summit in the city of Québec last October. At the conference, the heads of state and government adopted an ambitious declaration that contains concrete commitments relating to democracy and the rule of law, the environment, economic governance and the French language," said the Minister.

She also noted the key role that Quebec and New Brunswick played in organizing the Summit. The two provinces have participating government status in La Francophonie.

"Working together within the International Organization of La Francophonie is an integral part of our foreign policy, and the excellent cooperation between our three governments allows us to make progress on issues that we deem important, such as modernizing the Organization and strengthening its political role," added Ms. Verner.

The International Day of La Francophonie and Canada's membership in the Organization will be marked not only in Canada but throughout the world in numerous Canadian embassies, high commissions and consulates general, many of which are located in countries that are not members of La Francophonie.

"There is no better way for us to highlight the influence and protection of Canadian values, which are at the heart of our activities in La Francophonie," concluded the Minister.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Lisa Mitchell
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie