Franco-Ontarians must target the goal of making Ontario an officially bilingual province during the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, suggested the Ambassador of France to Canada on Thursday night in Toronto.
Nicolas Chapuis was the keynote speaker of the debate entitled Grand Place of Ontario’s Francophonie internationally, during the first evening of the 10th Assembly of the Francophonie in Ontario in Toronto.
This status officially bilingual province could then allow Ontario to get a seat at the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, alongside Quebec and New Brunswick within the Canadian delegation, for his part, stressed François Boileau, the Commissioner of the Ontario French-language services and one of the panelists of the discussion.
The economy, the international Francophonie, immigration, the Grand discussion covered broad topics. But Africa and the digital out as two major issues for the future of the Francophonie, said Mr. Chapuis.
Africa should be the continent showing the strongest growth in 2050, with nearly 750 million French speakers worldwide.
“French is the fourth language of the Internet. Invest social networks. Write in French. Publish videos in French, “implored Mr. Chapuis.
“Digital education can open up communities,” added the ambassador of France who entrusted have discovered four francophonies in Canada. The first is Quebec, the second Acadia […], the third the francophone minority in Ontario, Franco-Manitobans, Franco-Albertans are 400 000. ”
The fourth Francophonie 450 000 people? It is the French immersion in the English school boards, according to Nicolas Chapuis, saying it will be crucial to be able to train teachers who will teach the French and anglophones and allophones. France could provide assistance in this matter.
Immigration, beyond the reception
In terms of immigration, the Ontario French Language Services Commissioner, François Boileau, recalled that in the GTA, a Francophone in two was born outside of Canada, and emphasizing the contribution of Francophone immigration in the Queen City, became the fourth pole of Ontario’s Francophonie.
But Ontario is far from its goal of 5% of Francophone immigrants, said Marie-France Kenny, past president of the Federation of Francophone and Acadian communities. “We are less than 2%,” said Ms. Kenny.
On immigration, the recognition of qualifications between countries but also between provinces is very important insisted the ambassador of France, especially for engineers.
More than just songs
But the French ambassador Nicolas Chapuis has not unanimous encouraging Franco-Ontarians to follow the example of Francophone artists in Canada who successfully exporting.
“It’s a bit simplistic to summarize the Franco-Ontarian economy to cultural products,” said François Boileau.
“Entrepreneurship is also sale and export of ideas,” he adds, citing the example of Ontario colleges of secondary education that develop training programs in Africa or the World Trade Centre in Winnipeg is officially bilingual and led by a francophone.
“It would simply roll up their sleeves,” concluded François Boileau, optimistic about the potential of Franco-Ontarian companies internationally. “In French Ontario, it is able to walk and eat together.”