R.J. Simpson: Rendez-vous de la Francophonie

Yellowknife — March 13, 2020
Ministers' Statements and Speeches

Monsieur le President, I am proud to celebrate the Francophone community of the Northwest Territories during the 22nd Annual Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. This nationwide initiative, held every March, is an opportunity for Canada’s 9.5 million French-speakers to promote the French language, and celebrate the many ways it is expressed throughout the country.

The Rendez-vous encourages us to celebrate the strength in our diversity and cooperatively address the challenges we face as a territory. This year’s theme of au centre d’un changement is especially relevant as we begin the work to achieve the priorities of the 19th Legislative Assembly. It is a welcome reminder to embrace a spirit of unity aimed at improving the quality of life for all of our residents.

Monsieur le President, this government is committed to providing our French-speaking residents with quality public services and communications. That is why we launched our first annual Francophone Community Satisfaction Survey earlier this month. The survey, available on the Department of Education, Culture and Employment’s website until March 31, 2020, will help us to determine the Francophone community’s level of awareness of the Government of the Northwest Territories' French language communications and how satisfied they are with those services.

We are partnering with Francophone organizations in areas like immigration. During Francophone Immigration Week in 2019, the Government of the Northwest Territories launched the Welcome to the NWT resource book for newcomers at an event hosted by the Northwest Territories’ Francophone immigration network. This guide was designed to help attract, settle, and ensure the retention of foreign nationals to the Northwest Territories, and connect newcomers with the services and resources they need to settle comfortably into their new home communities.

We continue to support and engage with Collège nordique francophone. Collège nordique francophone plays a significant role in ensuring diversity in the postsecondary education system, offering language courses and a variety of postsecondary education diploma programs in cooperation with southern institutions. To support this important work, we recently signed a new, three-year contribution agreement with Collège nordique francophone that will begin in the new fiscal year. Monsieur le President, our diverse French population contributes a cultural richness to our communities, not only through language, but through dance, art, food, film, music, ideas, love for the land, and above all, a passion for interconnectedness and cultural exchange.

I am grateful for the gifts we continue to receive from the members of our vibrant and growing Francophone population. Let us continue to work together to celebrate our diversity and to strengthen the social, cultural and economic landscape of the Northwest Territories.

Merci, Mr. Speaker.