MAR. 12 | La Journée de la Francophonie ... J'en fais partie!

  • Posted on: 12 March 2009
  • By: Michelle

Last week I went to Victoria as a representative of the Act Now BC Athlete Ambassador Team to be part of the
B.C. Journée de la Francophonie, since their theme this year was "Sports and the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games."

The event was held at the Legislature and one of the agenda items, apparently, included having an Anglophone development athlete in an obscure sport give a speech. To a group of Francophones. En Français.

Phew. Good thing my parents prepped me for this very moment by dressing me up all pretty and throwing me up on stage for the Concours D'Art Oratoire starting back in grade one.

Wait for it ...

Wait for it ...

No, seriously, this will be worth the wait ..

Oh, you are going to like this ...

Brace yourself ...


Yeah. Ummmm ... does my aversion to pink now make sense to everyone?

Okay, seriously ... it's not bad enough that I am the dorky kid who won the school final in the French-speaking contest and earned a trip to the provincial championships in lovely Edson, Alberta? Do you have to send me up on stage looking like A) a librarian chaperoning junior prom, or B) an Easter Pageant entry from hell? And what, my legs weren't white enough for you already? How hard did you have to look to find me a pair of nylons whiter than the natural albino tone I was already brandishing? Man, it's no wonder my grade-six heart throb Harley Kurata, featured here to my left in some classy sneakers that must have made his mom proud, never batted an eyelash in my direction.

In any event, I was apparently able to make a reasonable impression, despite my lack of pink-party-dress-straight-from-the-pits-of-hell and blinding white nylons, because now I have a pocket full of business cards from French immersion teachers and program coordinators who want me to make appearances at their respective schools and help convince their students that multilingualism is totally useful. 'Cause guaranteed I won't be convincing anyone that it was totally cool.

If you are bored and bilingual, you are welcome to read my speech ... no promises on proper conjugation or grammar ...

Another item on the agenda was to reveal the new Franco-BC logo ... QUE JE PENSE EST EXCEPTIONNEL!


Allow me to take a moment of seriousness here ...

I am a big supporter and enthusiastic proponent of Canadian bilingualism, a subject that is often treated with a lot of contempt and mockery out here in Western Canada. At first I cringed when, at this event celebrating French-Canadian culture, half of the speeches were given in English, half of the politicians there could only offer a token rehearsed line in French and even half of the National Anthem was in English. I couldn't understand why the Francophones, on their day, were still pandering to the Anglos.

And then it struck me. The B.C. Francophones at this event get it. They understand the give and take needed to perpetuate understanding and appreciation between different cultures. They realize that, even on their day, they need to respect and accommodate Anglophones in they same way that they as Francophones hope to be accommodated and respected every other day of the year.

This logo is extremely meaningful and very representative of how I feel as an Anglo-Québecoise and as a bilingual British Columbian.

Moment over.