Minister Verner Marks 40th Anniversary of International Organization of La Francophonie

(No. 110 - March 19, 2010 - 9:30 a.m. ET) 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 40th anniversary of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF).

The Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation, the precursor of today’s OIF, was established in Niamey, Niger, on March 20, 1970.

The OIF’s maturity and vitality is evidenced today through its 56 member states and governments, and 14 observer countries. Currently, some 200 million people speak French worldwide.

“Canada demonstrated its commitment to this key organization by hosting the Francophonie summits in Moncton, in 1999, and in the city of Québec, in 1987 and 2008,” said Minister Verner. “The Canadian government was pleased that its presence in La Francophonie was enriched early on by the participation of the Quebec and New Brunswick governments.

This event comes at a time when Haiti—like Canada, a founding country of La Francophonie—is faced with the immense challenge of reconstruction.

“We can be pleased with the humanitarian work that has been done in Haiti since the terrible earthquake of January 12,” said Minister Verner. “Canada responded immediately with financial and humanitarian aid to this devastated country. We also appealed for the long-term mobilization of the international community, particularly of other francophone countries. I am pleased that La Francophonie is being faithful in its duty to stand in solidarity with Haiti and to help in the reconstruction of that country.”

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Jimmy Laforge
A/Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and Minister for La Francophonie
613-947-3663