In the most recent step in their close collaboration, the governments of Quebec and Nova Scotia today, Dec. 20, signed a new co-operation agreement and a declaration on the Canadian francophonie. The co-operation agreement and the declaration are a testament to the governments’ commitment to the Canadian francophonie and their determination to preserve French and the diverse French-speaking communities in Canada.
This represents the first time these two governments have made a formal commitment to increase their respective financial contributions, which will rise from an annual average of nearly $30,000 over the past five years to $50,000 for each of the next five years. This funding, now part of the co-operation agreement, will be used to fund innovative, defining initiatives in education, youth, culture, tourism, early childhood, economic development and immigration.
The Nova Scotia and Quebec ministers want to build a stronger partnership to ensure the vitality of the French language. To this end, they have committed to meeting at least every two years to discuss the status of the Canadian francophonie, as well as priorities put forward by stakeholders like the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse (the Nova Scotia Acadian federation).
“By setting common priorities, Nova Scotia and Quebec are opening more partnership opportunities for building stronger communities,” said Michel Samson, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Acadian Affairs and Francophonie. “The agreement will help francophone community-based organizations exchange information and expertise for projects that promote the French language and help the Acadian and francophone community make their mark within the global francophonie.
“We are proud to stand as equal partners with the Government of Quebec as we work to enhance the vibrant francophone culture.”
“This new agreement is an expression of our desire to strengthen ties between our two provinces and to work together to advance and promote the French language in our country,” said Jean-Marc Fournier, Minister responsible for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie in Quebec. “There are nearly 10 million francophones and francophiles in Canada. By joining forces to give strong voice to the French language, our language acquires legitimacy.
“Making French heard and giving it its proper place benefits all Québécois. We must look to the future together and make Canada a country whose people are proud of their French language.”
In signing this declaration on the Canadian francophonie, the governments of Quebec and Nova Scotia are acknowledging the key role of francophones in founding and building today’s Canada, as well as their importance in shaping tomorrow’s Canada. By uniting their leadership within the Canadian francophonie, they are committed to promoting, protecting, preserving and enhancing the vitality of the French language in Canada.
Taking measures to maintain the demographic weight of francophones in Canada and to encourage the active offer of services in French are concrete ways to proudly promote French as a valuable component of the Canadian identity and a pledge to the future of our country.
“We are pleased with this agreement because the priorities for action are consistent with the issues identified in the Acadian community’s action plan,” said Ghislain Boudreau, chair of the Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse. “This funding will allow our organizations to increase opportunities for collaboration and partnership with organizations in Quebec, and it will strengthen our network.”
This process is in keeping with a wave of engagement across the country in favour of the French language. Quebec signed a similar declaration with Ontario in November 2014 and, more recently, with the governments of Manitoba, Yukon and New Brunswick.