Minister of State Valcourt Promotes Canada’s Role in La Francophonie During Visit to Paris

(No. 267 - September 16, 2011 - 11 a.m. ET) The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), today concluded a two-day visit to Paris, during which he met with Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie. They discussed Canada’s key objectives relating to La Francophonie, including the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance in the Francophonie member states, as well as the importance Canada attaches to economic development in francophone countries.

During his meeting with Minister of State Valcourt, Secretary General Diouf mentioned his numerous visits to Canada and his appreciation of the role Canada plays in La Francophonie. “I was touched by Mr. Diouf’s account of his time spent in Canada, especially in Acadia,” said the Minister of State. “I invited him to join us for the next World Acadian Congress, to be held in August 2014 in northwest New Brunswick.”

Minister of State Valcourt also reiterated Canada’s unwavering support for Secretary General Diouf’s continuing efforts to promote peace, democracy and human rights in La Francophonie.

The Minister of State took advantage of his visit to discuss preparations for the French Language World Forum with Michel Audet, the Forum’s Commissioner General.

“We recognize the importance of actively involving francophone youth from all regions of the world in the French Language World Forum taking place in the city of Québec in July 2012,” said the Minister of State. “The Forum should be an opportunity for youth to meet and discuss the French language as a common bond.”

While in Paris, Minister of State Valcourt also met with Frédéric Lefebvre, France’s Secretary of State for Tourism with responsibilities for Commerce, Small and Mid-sized Businesses, Independent Professions and Consumer Affairs. They discussed Canadian policies supporting small and medium-sized businesses.

As minister of state responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, he also promoted Atlantic Canada as an ideal investment destination in a round-table discussion with French entrepreneurs.

“Our government has worked very hard since 2006, opening doors for Canadian businesses around the world and creating investment opportunities in Canada to create jobs for Canadians,” concluded Minister of State Valcourt.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Andréa Richer
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie)
613-790-3637

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
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