Archived - The Commissioner of Official Languages presents development approaches for the Saskatchewan Francophone community

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Ottawa, February 18, 2010 – The Commissioner of Official Languages, Graham Fraser, presented a study today in Regina on development perspectives that will enhance the vitality of rural Francophone communities in Saskatchewan.

The Office of the Commissioner's study was conducted in the St. Louis area, which includes the Batoche National Historic Site. The objective of the study is to provide these communities with tools so that they can better identify their rural development priorities and better measure the results objectively. For example, the study explains how the recognition of “Terroir” products can lead to increased community vitality and the importance of bringing together the long-standing Francophone communities and the Métis community. The study also highlights the importance of taking steps to identify the specific challenges that these communities face, particularly the exodus of youth to urban centres and the aging population.

“This study is part of the process of allowing the community to drive its own development”, said Mr. Fraser. “This appropriation means that the community will be making its own decisions regarding the area's economic and social development, but it is not to say that it has been left to fend for itself. These rural communities must be able to benefit from the entire Saskatchewan Francophone community's support, as well as help from the provincial and federal governments. It is in this spirit that my office has contributed this study. I hope that it can serve as a model for similar studies in other rural Francophone communities in the province.”

The Commissioner hopes that federal government institutions use this study, in addition to community consultations, to better target their interventions. All federal institutions are responsible for providing services that meet the needs of official-language communities, and support their development.

“I am very impressed with the vitality of the Saskatchewan Francophone community” said the Commissioner. “It is relatively small in terms of the population, but well-rooted in the Prairies and extremely vibrant.”

“Francophone communities across the country are generally very open to intercultural dialogue, but the Saskatchewan Francophone community was able to develop a way to do this that suits their particular situation” said Mr. Fraser. “Its 'marketing and seduction' approach serves as a good example of the type of relationship that Fransaskois leaders and entrepreneurs are looking to strengthen. In the end, the whole province benefits from the development of these communities.”

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For more information or to schedule an interview with the Commissioner, please contact:

Robin Cantin
Manager, Media Relations
Telephone: 613-995-0374
Cellular: 613-324-0999
Toll-free: 1-877-996-6368

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