Whitehorse Daily Star

Image title

Photo by Vince Fedoroff

MINISTERS MEET HERE – The 23rd Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie was held in Whitehorse last Thursday and Friday. The ministerial delegates, responsible for French-language services in their jurisdictions, held a news conference that afternoon. Seen left to right are Rochelle Squires, Manitoba; Mélanie Joly, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage; Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec; Francine Landry, New Brunswick; John Streicker, the Yukon; Mark Browne, Newfoundland and Labrador; and Kathleen Casey, Prince Edward Island.

Message called upbeat at Francophonie meet

Whitehorse was the site of last week’s Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie.

By Gord Fortin on July 9, 2018

Whitehorse was the site of last week’s Ministerial Conference on the Canadian Francophonie.

The conference hosted several representatives from all across Canada last Thursday and Friday.

The meeting was chaired by Mélanie Joly, the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage, and John Streicker, the Yukon cabinet minister responsible for French- languages services.

Media were invited to a press conference early Friday afternoon where federal, provincial and territorial representatives spoke on the results of the conference.

Streicker said francophones are asking for access to family justice and health care in their language. They are also looking for bilingual government information both online and in hard copy form.

“The conference has yielded very positive results,” Streicker said.

He said the Yukon government has created new bilingual positions in both the Departments of Justice and Health.

Another major topic was francophone immigration. Joly said the goal is to attract more French speakers all across Canada.

The federal government is also looking to find more teachers to be able to teach the language for first and second language classes.

Streicker said all the ministers at the conference are happy that French language services are expanding in Canada. He said there is a demand for these services, and the individual community needs are diverse.

Streicker said he believes the territory does collect data on the language requests. This is important, he added, as any government needs to know where the demand is.

Moving back to Health and Justice, he explained that while many francophones may be proficient enough in English to get by, they may need services in French in emergency situations.

During an emergency, it may be more helpful to speak the language you are most comfortable in, he pointed out.

As for Yukon-specific issues, Streicker said there is a growing demand for both French immersion and French schools, but there is a shortage of teachers.

Overall, he said, French services are both growing and getting better in the territory.

“We know these services are improving,” Streicker said. “We know that will encourage the French community to seek out those services.”

The provincial, territorial and federal governments are partnering on French languages services.

The federal government is looking to formulate a new action plan for the official languages.

Joly said this plan proposed $2.7 billion over five years, 2018-2023 to go toward bilingual services, eduction and modernizing the official languages.

Joly spoke about significant developments in French language services. She pointed out that Manitoba and Alberta have created their first-ever policies for French language services.

This demonstrates the political will to sustain the Francophonie, she added, and there is a lot less linguistic tension in Canada today.

Streicker elaborated on that point, noting that 20 to 30 years ago, people may have been self-conscious to speak French in public.

Now, this is not the case, as English and French speakers seem to enjoy speaking each other’s language, he said.

Streicker added that as the Yukon that embraces language diversity, which also includes the many First Nations languages, it will benefit the territory.

“I think it’s going to help us economically, it’s going to help us socially,” Streicker said.

The next Ministerial Conference of the Canadian Francophonie will take place in Iqaluit, Nunavut, on June 27-28, 2019.

Comments (11)

Up 12 Down 0

Can't see on Jul 12, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Could somebody suggest to this ethnic group that they don't always get to stand in front of everybody at public gatherings. I've heard of visible minorities but this has become ridiculous.

Up 10 Down 1

Groucho d'North on Jul 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm

More politically correct manipulation to ensure votes from a portion of the population. Daddy Pierre started it with language laws to win Quebec and now junior is following up with what the immigrants want. I wonder why they never campaign on these issues, but push them once elected?

Up 1 Down 9

Hugh Mungus on Jul 12, 2018 at 1:07 pm

@ My Opinion Let's agree that your comments are just xenophobic then. Fair enough?

Up 13 Down 0

Sillig on Jul 11, 2018 at 6:41 am

When's the English meeting?

Up 8 Down 0

My Opinion on Jul 10, 2018 at 8:15 pm


Although on the surface you are correct, things are a changing. When you search the word you will see that it describes more now then originally. From Websters Dictionary "Race was long considered a fixed biological category, but today it is now regarded as a social construction." Go figure.

Up 9 Down 11

Hugh Mungus on Jul 10, 2018 at 2:04 pm

@ My Opinion You do realize that 'French' isn't a race, right? Maybe hop on the school bus in September and take that grade 8 civics class you obviously missed.

Up 19 Down 3

My Opinion on Jul 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

The only provinces that Trudope will get seats in is likely Quebec and New Brunswick. That being said he is trying his hardest to transplant as many French across Canada as he can, and the bait is a good bi-ligual Govy Job.

Trudeau.....You are so done. You too Larry.

Up 20 Down 0

My Opinion on Jul 9, 2018 at 10:14 pm

"A shortage of Teachers????" There is a shortage of Kids. Why all this French segregation for crying out loud. The reason the kids want to attend non ethnic schools is they want to be with their friends, not their race.

Race related policies have to stop. How would it be if English speakers said no people of First Nations background in their school, how would that go over? Yep I thought so that would be RACIST right?

Up 21 Down 1

BnR on Jul 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm

"Streicker elaborated on that point, noting that 20 to 30 years ago, people may have been self-conscious to speak French in public.
Now, this is not the case, as English and French speakers seem to enjoy speaking each other’s language, he said."
Are you on crack John? What the heck does that even mean? Seem to enjoy speaking achieve others language?
Quebecers have managed to become a political power here and get what they want, that's what they're happy about. I'm waiting for a French only residential subdivision.

Up 20 Down 1

Rude Quebecers on Jul 9, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I just drove through Quebec for the first and last time as a tourist and many times people in service/ hospitality businesses made a point of completely ignoring me as I could not speak French. For example when there are 4 people working behind a counter with no other customers in sight and they don’t even acknowledge you when you try to buy something it’s the epitome of rudeness. After my experience in Quebec I could now care less if the rest of Canada makes any effort to accommodate the French language. In Yukon I’ve happily helped many people from around the world who don’t speak English.

Up 20 Down 2

Francois on Jul 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm

“Upbeat” why the heck wouldn’t they be upbeat, endless monies for jobs, schools, buildings essentially their own little empire all off the backs of mainly English workers.

Add your comments or reply via Twitter @whitehorsestar

In order to encourage thoughtful and responsible discussion, website comments will not be visible until a moderator approves them. Please add comments judiciously and refrain from maligning any individual or institution. Read about our user comment and privacy policies.

Your name and email address are required before your comment is posted. Otherwise, your comment will not be posted.