“I am honoured to welcome you to the magnificent city of Quebec, the cradle of the French language in North America.
“Dear delegates, two years ago in Montreux, the countries of la Francophonie met to discuss important issues concerning the future of the French language in the world.
“Clearly, this struck us as an excellent idea.
“And today, Canada is very proud to welcome you to this inaugural event, the very first Forum mondial de la langue française!”
“One of the themes that we care deeply about is linguistic diversity.
“Once again, there is no better place to discuss linguistic diversity and cohabitation than right here in Canada.
“The peoples who founded our great country did not all speak the same language.
“They did not all share the same culture.
“But our people became united.
“Our ties became closer.
“And an exceptional solidarity took hold.
“Over the centuries, our great country has developed to be extraordinarily diverse.
“But of primary importance is our Francophone character.
“The great Quebec nation, the Acadians and the Brayons in New Brunswick, the Franco-Ontarians and the Francophones on the Prairies, all the French Canadians who shaped this wonderful country of ours.
“More than 400 years after Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec and the first governor of Canada, French continues to flourish on this side of the Atlantic.
“Today, there are nearly seven million Canadians whose mother tongue is French.
“Over nine million Canadians speak it as one of our two official languages, enriching the extended Francophonie family.
“Our cultural diversity is our greatest asset.
“As Canadians, we are extremely proud of our two national languages and our heritage of diversity.
“Our languages bring us together, just as they will all of humanity in a few weeks in London, where la Francophonie will have as its Grand Témoin a great Canadian, Michaëlle Jean.
“Our two national languages give us access to two great cultures.”
“They make us stronger.
“Dear delegates, we must all work to promote the vitality of the French language.
“Over the coming days, let us join forces to develop a united, vibrant Francophonie.
“Let us ensure that French shines even more brightly on the international scene.”
“I wish you all a productive forum.
“Thank you very much.”