Minister of State Valcourt Proposes Strengthened Economic Cooperation Within La Francophonie

Modification: change to subject heading in email

(No. 363 - Email modification - December 7, 2011 - 10 a.m. ET) The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), today concluded his visit to Paris, where he represented Canada at the 27th Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie.

Minister Valcourt met with his colleagues from the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) to discuss Canada’s goal of broadening the OIF’s mandate as it pertains to economic cooperation within La Francophonie.

“I would like to emphasize the importance of the French Language World Forum, as it will offer an important opportunity to hear directly from civil society,” said Minister Valcourt. “Non-governmental organizations are at the forefront of La Francophonie on the ground, and we should listen to them and include them in our work.”

During the Conference, the Minister and his colleagues spoke of the significant progress the OIF had made to modernize itself, and they reiterated that the organization needs to remain attuned to current challenges so it can respond to them in a concerted, effective manner.

The Minister also reaffirmed Canada’s support of the OIF’s political action and argued in favour of increased Francophone cooperation in strengthening the rule of law, defending fundamental rights—including the freedom of religion—and promoting peace and security.

During his visit to Paris, Minister Valcourt also met with Jean-Pierre Raffarin, Personal Representative of the French President to La Francophonie, as well as with representatives from Mali, Senegal, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Switzerland. During these meetings, Minister Valcourt highlighted Canada’s willingness to work more closely with its OIF partners to develop the economic potential resulting from these ties, and said that given the current economic context, the next Francophonie Summit should be a modest one.

Minister Valcourt, on behalf of the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, took part in the Conference of Ministers Responsible for TV5MONDE. For 25 years, Canada has been a partner of TV5, a global network that promotes the development of La Francophonie in Canada and around the world. During the meeting of ministers responsible for TV5, the Government of Canada reiterated its commitment to TV5MONDE and TV5 Québec Canada. It should be noted that, in 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed an additional $25 million over five years to TV5MONDE and TV5 Québec Canada.

The next Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie will take place in Kinshasa in 2012, just before the Francophonie Summit.

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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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