Mr. Speaker, for Canada and other members of the Francophonie, Saturday, March 20 will be a day of celebration. We will celebrate the 40th anniversary of an important international organization that we helped create on March 20, 1970 in Niamey, Niger.
The International Organization of la Francophonie has expanded and matured since that time. There are now 56 member states and governments in addition to 14 observers united by a common language: French.
There are now some 200 million French speakers in the world. The Francophonie is a natural zone of Canadian influence. It is a place where our voice is heard and understood.
The Francophonie is more than just language and cultural diversity. It is also a set of values that form the basis for our work and collaboration. I would like to congratulate the organization for all it has accomplished in the last 40 years.