Mr. Speaker, from February 25 to March 4, 2005, a Franco-Manitoban delegation will participate in an economic mission to Alsace, France. The Premier of Manitoba, the provincial finance minister and I will accompany 75 delegates from the economic, cultural, research, health and environmental sectors.
Led by the Economic Development Council for Manitoba Bilingual Communities, this mission aims to develop business ties with companies in Alsace and encourage commercial immigration to Manitoba. In addition, it aims to position Manitoba as the gateway to western North American and to promote Manitoba's francophone culture.
This is the first time a delegation this size will go to France. This mission is the result of a historic agreement on non-invasive surgery reached between the St. Boniface general hospital and the IRCAD research institute in Strasbourg.
I am proud of the contribution by this group of dynamic francophones living in a minority situation. It is tangible proof of the importance of the francophonie's added value to this country's economic development.