17 October 2008
Prime Minister Harper opened the 12th Francophonie Summit today in Quebec City, with some 50 heads of state and government, the Secretary General of the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) and the Secretary-General of the United Nations in attendance.
"It is my pleasure to welcome you in Quebec City for this Francophonie Summit, the third to be held in Canada," stated Mr. Harper. "The French language’s origins in North America started here some four hundred years ago when Samuel de Champlain first arrived in Quebec."
This Summit provides us with a timely opportunity to discuss issues that are mobilizing the international community, including the financial crisis, as well as an opportunity to examine four other major issues within La Francophonie: democracy and the rule of law, economic governance, the environment and the French language.
"The Francophonie’s actions must be targeted and effective and must be carried out in conjunction with other international and regional organizations. We must work collectively to bring concrete and realistic solutions to address the crises that are affecting our planet, in particular in some francophone countries," added the Prime Minister.
During his address, the Prime Minister encouraged the heads of state and government to study measures designed to build the OIF’s capacities in the areas of preventive diplomacy and mediation. The Prime minister underscored the necessity to pursue the modernization of the OIF.
"Multilateral organizations must be efficient, responsible and accountable. Canada is open to the world. Canada is diverse. That is the reason why we are putting such importance on our involvement in the international Francophonie," said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister took the opportunity to announce that Canada is increasing its funding to TV5. This international network is an ideal tool for conveying Canadian values throughout the world. It also benefits the Canadian audiovisual industry.
The governments of Canada and Quebec are co-hosting the Summit, while New Brunswick is a partner in organizing the event.