Mr. Speaker, at the 15th summit of la Francophonie in Dakar, heads of states and of governments that belong to the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie officially chose Michaëlle Jean as secretary general. Canadians, especially francophones across Canada and Canadians of Haitian origin, are delighted with this appointment.
Ms. Jean is the first woman, and also the first person from outside Africa, to hold this position. Her appointment will without a doubt deeply mark the course of la Francophonie for decades to come.
The new secretary general is adamant that she will give a voice to women and youth in order to increase equality and solidarity within la Francophonie and to bolster its economic footing.
In the global political landscape troubled by incidents of religious fundamentalism, the appointment of this strong woman, who is inspired by the core values of freedom, equality and social justice, is a powerful symbol and gives hope for the future of women and democracy.