"Today, as they do every June 24, Québécois gather to celebrate the Fête nationale du Québec. Francophones throughout the country join them to mark Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day.
"Throughout Canada's history, French-speaking Canadians and Québécois have greatly contributed to building a united and prosperous Canada, both through their role during the armed conflicts of centuries past and through their artistic contributions and their distinct cultural identity.
"On the eve of the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, I would like to highlight the important contribution of Quebec athletes to Canadian and Quebecois pride during the Olympic Games. They include the Boucherville native Étienne Desmarteau, who won Canada's first gold medal at the Games in St. Louis, in the United States, in 1904, and Chantal Petitclerc, who has proudly represented Canada at the last five Paralympic Games.
"The Quebec athletes who will take part in the London Games do our country proud, and I salute their courage and wish them every success.
"On this wonderful day of celebration, I wish a very happy Saint-Jean-Baptiste Day to all the Québécois and to all those who are today celebrating the heritage of the Canadian Francophonie."