Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism, responsible for the Francophone Secretariat has said that “Alberta has a dynamic, vibrant and energetic French-speaking population, dating back to the 1700s, whose contributions help strengthen our province as a great place to live, work and visit. For the first time, Albertans and visitors will see the Franco-Albertan flag flying above the legislature grounds in Edmonton and McDougall Centre in Calgary as recognition of the long historic presence of French in our province and as a tribute to one of Canada’s official languages. I encourage everyone to take this opportunity to experience Alberta’s rich francophone heritage during the month of March.
Raising the Franco-Albertan flag marks the start of Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie. Les Rendez-vous de la Francophonie is a pan-Canadian celebration of the French language and culture. It is also part of the events surrounding International Francophonie Day, which is celebrated by more than 50 countries on March 20. Approximately 10 million Canadians participate in the celebrations each year.
Jean Johnson, President of the Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta (ACFA) has said that“The month of March is the opportunity to celebrate our beautiful francophone community in Alberta, which has been in our province for over 200 years and is now enriched with many newcomers. We are very grateful to Minister Ricardo Miranda for his continuing support of our community.”
The Franco-Albertan flag was created in 1982 by Jean-Pierre Grenier as part of a contest held by Francophonie jeunesse de l’Alberta. It features a white fleur-de-lys, the symbol of the Francophonie, and a wild rose, the symbol of Alberta. It has two white and blue diagonal stripes, symbolizing the crossing of rivers and roads by the first French-Canadian pioneers who settled in the province.