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Brian Mulroney, at the front of major Franco-Canadian battles

Photo: Ron Poling Archives The Canadian Press Brian Mulroney, in 1988, when he was Prime Minister of Canada

Brian Mulroney “believed deeply in the Francophonie.” The day after his death, Franco-Canadian organizations paid tribute to the former prime minister, who was at the front of several major battles of the community.

“No matter how history calculates his political record, no one can deny that Brian Mulroney has always been motivated by a desire to improve the status of French in the country,” wrote the president of the Federation of Communities on Friday. Francophones and Acadians of Canada, Liane Roy, who associates the politician with the first modernization of the Official Languages ​​Act, in 1988.

“He was a man who believed deeply in the Francophonie throughout the country and who showed it by being willing to include provisions in favor of our communities, both in the Meech Lake Accord and in Charlottetown,” she added.

The Assembly of the Francophonie of Ontario (AFO) also underlined “unwavering support for the rights of French-speaking minorities”. The father of the current Ontario Minister of Francophone Affairs, Caroline Mulroney, “played a key role in promoting the Francophonie, both in Canada and internationally,” according to AFO president Fabien Hébert. Its “impact […] on the Francophonie, as well as on the Canadian political landscape, is undeniable and lasting.”

Here for big battles

Whether it was to “publicly defend the (francophone) Montfort Hospital” in Ottawa when it was threatened with closure, participate in the founding of the French-language college La Cité in the federal capital or officially deplore the decision of Sault-Sainte-Marie to declare itself a unilingual English city, Mr. Mulroney has “marked Franco-Ontarian history by supporting the community at important moments in its history,” maintains the Association of Francophone Communities of 'Ottawa.

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His investment in the Francophonie was reflected in the choice of his collaborators, since he named Michel Gratton, from Vanier, as press secretary, and designated the grandson of a founder of the journal Le Droit, Paul Terrien, to write some of his speeches.

The organization also points out that “among his first actions in 1983 and 1984 as leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, Mr. Mulroney pressured his Ontario counterparts to increase rights of Franco-Ontarians and official bilingualism in the province.”

During this same period, he also spoke in favor of enshrining the rights of Franco-Manitobans in the provincial constitution. “We would like to pay tribute to Brian Mulroney and express our gratitude for his invaluable contribution to building a strong and united Canada,” said the Devoir Société de la francophonie manitobaine. “We are grateful to him. »

This report is supported by the Local Journalism Initiative, funded by the Government of Canada.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116