Paule Robitaille – MNA for Bourassa-Sauvé, Official Opposition Critic for International Relations and La Francophonie
Kathleen Weil — MNA for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Official Opposition Critic for Canadian Relations and the Canadian Francophonie
Enrico Ciccone — MNA for Marquette, Official Opposition Critic for Sports, Recreation and Healthy Living
Isabelle Melançon — MNA for Verdun, Official Opposition Critic for Culture, Communications and the Protection of the French Language
Christine St-Pierre — MNA for Acadie, Official Opposition Critic for Public Security.
Last week we were saddened to learn that the Government of New Brunswick had decided to withdraw from the 2021 Jeux de la Francophonie 2021.
These games, for which TV5Monde is the official broadcaster, offer an exceptional showcase for our Acadian friends, as well as for all Francophones throughout Canada. When they declared the candidacy of their city in Abidjan in 2015, it was a heartfelt plea from Moncton’s organizers, a way for them to tell the whole world that the Francophone community in New Brunswick, and indeed across Canada as a whole, is still alive and thriving. Their initiative cannot remain dead letter. We cannot give up on the Acadian people.
The Jeux de la Francophonie brings together hundreds of young people from throughout the world; it is a testament to how proud we are to live in French. It isn’t only about sports. The games also provide opportunities for young Francophone artists from across the globe to become better known. Through sports and the arts we break down our differences, we build ties that last a lifetime and we strengthen this immense francophone population, a market with over 285 million inhabitants, within which, it should be noted, Quebec is a full-fledged state.
The games are slated for 2021, there are still two years to go, it is not too late.
The Government of Quebec needs to demonstrate leadership within La Francophonie and put pressure on the federal government so that they increase the funding required for the games to be held. If Moncton is unable to host the games, Quebec must take up the torch and ensure the games’ success.
Quebec has the resources to hold such an event. The City of Sherbrooke, host of the Canadian Games in 2013, had submitted its candidacy for the 2021 games. It already possesses all the necessary infrastructures and would still consider stepping up to the plate, but would require solid support from the Government of Quebec and Federal Government in order to take over the project. In addition, Quebec and Montreal also possess the infrastructures and know-how and could possibly become alternatives. The organizing committee will be meeting in Paris on February 14th and 15th. We need to act now.
We need to call on Premier François Legault to stand up and demonstrate the leadership that Quebec has always shown in order to rally Ottawa and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and allow these games to go on. It will benefit the entire Francophonie. Let’s save the Jeux de la Francophonie! Let’s keep them in Canada!