Evidence of meeting #15 for Official Languages in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was communities.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Marie-France Kenny  President, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada
  • Ronald Robichaud  President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Jean Léger  Executive Director, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse
  • Suzanne Bossé  Director General, Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne du Canada

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Michael Chong

Mr. Lauzon.

November 24th, 2011 / 9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Thank you, and welcome to our guests. I would like to put my first questions to Mr. Robichaud.

Mr. Robichaud, you mentioned that there was a program in Nova Scotia enabling children to start learning French at a very early age. I believe you said at the age of four. Can you explain that program a little more? Is it a pilot program?

9:30 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Ronald Robichaud

I believe the project is managed by the francophone school board, the CSAP, and it's entitled Grandir en français. The project targets children four years of age, before they enter school, and it's like a—

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Are they anglophones?

9:30 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Ronald Robichaud

They are rights holders, individuals who have a right to start school in French. Francophone immigrants belong to those groups as well, like my granddaughter.

In our area, there are a lot of exogamous families whose members don't speak French at home. When their children start their first year at school, they don't have a certain level of French. So it's hard for them. This program, from what I understand, is funded by the Roadmap, and it is helping to improve the French, literacy and lives in French of the children, who then are much more successful when they start school. The CSAP people say the program is one of the things that has contributed to the success of our French-language schools in the province. The French-language schools in our province are enjoying greater success. Our numbers are up, more than those of the anglophones. It's a major success.

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

The best time to learn French is when we're young. I learned French as an adult, and it was very difficult.

9:30 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Ronald Robichaud

You speak well. I wouldn't know—

9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Is the program available across Nova Scotia?

9:35 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Ronald Robichaud

That program, Grandir en français, is being implemented in all the francophone schools of the CSAP.

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Is this project very successful?

9:35 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Ronald Robichaud

We're having an enormous success with this project. We're not having as much success with our French-language schools because it takes a lot of time to establish those schools. Our school has been under renovation for 10 years now. We now have 203 students, but the school, once renovated, will be able to hold only 125. We're enjoying major success with this program, but we have other problems.

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

You mentioned that a lot of your programs had been successful as a result of the Roadmap. Could you give us some examples?

9:35 a.m.

President, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

9:35 a.m.

Executive Director, Fédération acadienne de la Nouvelle-Écosse

Jean Léger

The successes have been in the field of health services. Under the Roadmap, one project enabled an anglophone organization in the Annapolis Valley to provide services in French. What is interesting, in the case of this example, is that it makes it possible to maintain a dialogue with anglophones and anglophone groups and to give them a clear understanding of the needs of that community. In health, we're also talking about speech therapy services provided in early childhood. It is very difficult to find speech therapists in Nova Scotia. However, the Roadmap has enabled us to develop speech therapy services to assist children in the schools. There are other examples of this kind, in particular the Grandir en français initiative, which is very significant.

9:35 a.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

You mentioned that 81% of your communities or your associations—