On November 21, 2007, The Hon. Maxime Bernier, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, agreed to assume chairmanship of the Ministerial Conference of La Francophonie for the next two years. After taking part in the conference in Vientiane, Laos, on November 20 and 21, the minister outlined Canada’s priorities for this mandate with his La Francophonie counterparts.
The press release issued on the occasion quotes Minister Bernier as saying, “In the coming months, Canada’s short term focus will be on preparing for the next Francophonie Summit. We would like to host a summit that mirrors the real concerns of our citizens and focuses on concrete results.”
To this end, Mr. Bernier recalled that “Our primary objective is to show Canadians and the entire French-speaking world that La Francophonie is, above all, a citizens’ movement. The choice of topics to be debated at the summit will be of the utmost importance. We will finalize consultations with our partners in La Francophonie to outline the framework for the discussions that will be central to the meeting in Québec City in 2008.
“ La Francophonie is an international organization that has done much to promote and strengthen French language and culture throughout the world,” he continued. “French language and culture have been at the core of the Canadian identity since our country was founded. Therefore, our government wholeheartedly supports efforts to foster the development of French-speaking communities in Canada. La Francophonie enables Canada to forge essential ties with other Francophone countries in the world.”
The press release concludes, “In 2008 the eyes of the entire world will be on Canada. Prime Minister Harper will host the next summit in Québec City from October 17 to 19, 2008, in partnership with his colleague Jean Charest, the Premier of Québec. The summit will add to the celebrations surrounding the 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City, which effectively marked the birth of the Canadian state.”
“We’ll see you in 2008!” concluded Minister Bernier.