VICTORIA – New Democrat spokesperson for multiculturalism Bruce Ralston released the following statement on B.C. Francophonie Day:
“Francophones have made tremendous contributions in the history of our great province and our great nation, right up to the present day.
“There are roughly 300,000 Francophones in B.C. today, of whom about 60,000 speak French as their primary language. Our Francophone heritage gives British Columbia a place in a global community. It’s a source of great pride for all Canadians that our former governor general, Michaëlle Jean, was chosen last November to lead la Francophonie, a global organization with 57 member states and 20 observer nations.
“The courage and hard work of French-Canadians played a vital role in the early European settlement of the Pacific coast. Alongside such explorers as Simon Fraser and David Thompson, they opened the overland routes through the Rockies and built a thriving fur trade, our province’s first industry. Without this achievement, Canada might not have a Pacific coast and our province would likely not exist in the shape we know today.
“It is a great privilege to celebrate the rich history of today’s vibrant Francophone community in British Columbia.”