Archived - Notes for an address at the opening of the new Community Learning Centre
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Grosse-Île, September 12, 2011
Graham Fraser - Commissioner of Official Languages
Check against delivery
Beginning of dialog
Bonjour. Good afternoon.
It is with great pleasure that I am here today for the official opening of the new Grosse-Île Community Learning Centre. It is a great project that has proven highly successful in other English-speaking communities across Quebec. As you may know, one part of my mandate as Commissioner of Official Languages is to take all measures within my power to ensure the preservation and vitality of official language communities in Canada.
The Community Learning Centre project is funded by the Canada-Québec Entente on minority language and second language education, whose objective is to support the minority language in a province, strengthen cooperation between provinces and facilitate dialogue between Quebec's two linguistic communities.
Community Learning Centres—or CLCs—have a short but illustrious history, and have been very successful in all of their 23 schools in Quebec. Grosse-Île now joins the ranks of 14 other new CLCs that were announced earlier this year.
Your community has a rich cultural and historical heritage that is of vital importance to Canadian history. If I am not mistaken, it was not too far from here, at the hamlet of East Cape, in the village of Old Harry, where Jacques Cartier landed on June 28, 1534.
Families in your community, like many in the Magdalen Islands, have been fishermen for generations. You share a rich history that is chock-full of stories, whether about ancestors who survived without modern conveniences or tragedies at sea. These stories are part of Canadian history and should be passed down to new generations of Canadians, Anglophones and Francophones alike. On this note, I would like to point out the remarkable work done by the Council for Anglophone Magdalen Islanders in preserving the history of your community, with their mini-museum and their very interesting and pertinent publications. I am looking forward to stopping by Old Harry village before I leave the Islands.
Official language communities require strong member participation to remain vital and vibrant. This can be difficult in communities where they only represent a small percentage of the total population in their area, or in remote places like the English-speaking community of Entry Island. Having a place where everyone can meet up to learn, discover, exchange knowledge and share interests is a fabulous way for the community to remain vital. CLCs are links between institutions and community vitality.
The positive impacts of CLCs on students, families and the community are many: each of them benefits from the support of the other, thus making the school both a learning centre and also—pardon my maritime pun—an anchor point for the community.
Part VII of the Official Languages Act stipulates that the Government of Canada is committed to:
- Enhancing the vitality of the English and French linguistic minority communities in Canada and supporting and assisting their development; and
- Fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.
Therefore, federal institutions have the duty to ensure that positive measures are carried out while respecting the jurisdiction and powers of the provinces.
As Commissioner of Official Languages, I would like to commend the Ministère de l’Éducation, du Loisir et du Sport for supporting the development of CLCs in schools across Quebec. I would also like to thank their many community partners for the great work they accomplish.
Here in Grosse-Île, the CLC will:
- Provide access to the conditions deemed necessary for student success;
- Respond to the particular culture and needs of your community;
- Provide services that are accessible to the broader community;
- Deliver a range of services that are self-supporting and sustainable over time;
- Integrate existing services and resources with those available from external agencies;
- Develop financial or resource partnerships that insure long-term sustainability;
- Resonate within your community as a successful response to your needs; and
- Demonstrate flexible and innovative approaches to service delivery.
But most of all, your CLC will provide a gathering place where all generations of your community will be able to maintain their distinctiveness, speak their language and keep their community thriving. I wish you great success and, by seeing the positive energy in everyone here today, I am sure that your CLC will have as many great results as other CLCs have had across the province.