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October 24, 2008
For immediate release

Minister Pleased with Exploratory Mission to France

Executive Council

The Minister responsible for Acadian and Francophone Affairs, Honourable Carolyn Bertram, is pleased with the results of a five-day exploratory mission to France where she promoted cultural and economic ties between Prince Edward Island and the French Republic.

Minister Bertram met with Canadian Embassy officials in Paris, the Chair of the BRED Bank, a representative of France’s National Assembly and organizers of La Semaine acadienne (Acadian Week), a festival held in Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer. Discussions with Embassy officials included increasing economic activity between France and PEI as well as collaborating on Francophone immigration issues. The Minister toured the National Assembly with a representative of the French Prime Minister and discussed possible youth exchanges with France.

“PEI and France share strong historical ties in that those who established the first permanent European settlement on the Island were French and Acadian,” said Minister Bertram. “We have remained close economically, as France has consistently been one of PEI’s top five trading partners over the past decade and, culturally, through ties between France and the Acadian and Francophone community of PEI.”

While in France, Minister Bertram announced that PEI had accepted an invitation from the town of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer to be the guest province for the 2009 edition of the Acadian Week festival. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick participated in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Festival and town representatives visited PEI this past August during a tour of the Maritimes. The program of activities and final dates for the 2009 festival have not yet been set.

“Participating in the Acadian Week festival will provide an opportunity for us to showcase PEI and the richness of the Acadian culture as well as recognize our Island soldiers who helped liberate the town of Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer in June 1944 during the Battle of Normandy,” said Minister Bertram.

In Saint-Aubin-sur-Mer, Minister Bertram visited the local public library and the elementary school. She met with local elected officials and area residents who witnessed the Battle of Normandy. These individuals play a significant role in the Acadian Week festival. The Minister also took time to visit the Canadian War Cemeteries in Bény-sur-Mer and Bretteville-sur-Laize.


The BRED Bank is the largest of the Banque Populaire regional banks and operates in the French capital region, Normandy and French territories overseas. It is a cooperative bank with 107,000 members and a capital of 340,312,500 euros. The bank’s business is evenly divided between retail banking in France and French territories overseas, and corporate banking. Its current Chair also serves as the International President of the Forum francophone des affaires (Francophone Business Forum). Its mandate is to facilitate relationship building and exchanges between public and private partners.

Media Contact: Donald DesRoches
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