July 9, 2007
We have a saying that everyone should have two cities in their heart, their own and Québec City.
The 400th anniversary of the founding of Québec City, which we will be commemorating in 2008, reminds us that French is Canada’s founding language.
The fact that French has survived in North America for four centuries is no accident of history. If French continues to be spoken in Canada today, it is thanks to the courage, tenacity and creativity of generation upon generation of Francophones who brought their old-world values and hopes to the new world and helped them take root and grow.
Back in 1609, just one year after the founding of Québec City, French writer Marc Lescarbot observed, and I quote: "We should go to Canada, land of avid and enterprising people desirous of bringing honour to themselves through actions that are as extraordinarily beautiful as they are difficult to carry out." Over the ages and on every continent, communities of men and women did things in French that were extraordinarily beautiful and difficult to carry out. It is our common heritage and a source of pride, and is destined to become a shared bounty and cause for hope.
In 2008 we will be delighted to welcome you to Québec City on the occasion of its 400th anniversary. Few North American cities can celebrate so rich a history. This is an historic date for all of Canada. From that point on, we really began to come into our own and become what we are today, for the founding of Québec City also marks the founding of the Canadian State.
From Newfoundland and Labrador to British Columbia, Canadians will be celebrating this wonderful anniversary, and we hope that you will join us.