Hon. Dennis Dawson: Thank you, minister, and welcome to the Senate. I’m going to open a debate on a new topic, the issue of French on the international stage. As you know, at the UN, the International Olympic Committee, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and other organizations, French has the same status as English. However, that status is not respected and the use of French is decreasing every year. This week, you are meeting with the president of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie. I also know that the APF is meeting in Quebec City on the weekend to promote French. Should we be ensuring that French is used wherever we have the right to do so? In light of the growing use of English in the digital world, we in the international francophone communities need to work together on finding a way to combat the growing presence of English internationally and ensure the presence of French.
Hon. Ginette Petitpas Taylor, P.C., M.P., Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency: Thank you, senator. It’s always nice to see you, and you are quite right. With 8 million francophones in Canada living amongst more than 360 million anglophones from coast to coast to coast in North America, protecting the French language warrants special and immediate attention. Protecting French and promoting French internationally are also top priorities for me. Minister Joly and I are promoting it because we want to make sure we’re doing our part to protect our French language. The digital world is indeed causing some real concerns, and we must work tirelessly to ensure that French is used equally on the international stage.
Senator Dawson: Thank you, minister.