Mr. Speaker, 1997 is a banner year for la Francophonie. This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Charte de la langue française, the 10th anniversary of the Semaine du français, the 5th anniversary of the Semaine internationale de la Francophonie and the 7th anniversary of the Journée internationale de la Francophonie in Quebec. These various events have now been combined in the Francofête, being held for the first time from March 16 to March 23, with the author Marie Laberge as honourary chair.
The Francofête is an event marked by pride and excellence. At the heart of this event we find the French language, the official and common language of Quebecers at work, in communications, business, culture and education.
To quote Yves Duteuil: "It is a beautiful language with magnificent words that expresses its history through its many accents". This week is a wonderful opportunity to speak, write, read, sing and love this language of ours.