Increasing French-language childcare services to meet the enormous demand is one of the priorities listed and presented by the ACFA to the two main political parties in Alberta. (Archival photo)
Two days before the end of the election campaign, the New Democratic Party (NDP) presented its commitments in favor of Alberta's Francophonie, particularly regarding education, health, funding for community facilities and support for new Francophone newcomers.
In terms of education, the NDP is committed to building new Francophone schools close to communities and modernizing French-language establishments.
< p class="e-p">It promises to ensure that French school boards are able to hire the teaching and support staff they need.
For post-secondary education, the party has already announced $6 million in funding over three years for Campus Saint-Jean, the only establishment of its kind offering programs in French in the province.
Asked what will be done after the three years, the Saint-Jean campus needing permanent funds, Marie Renaud, the NDP candidate in the riding of Saint-Albert, replied that her party would do everything its possible to offer stable funding.
Regarding health, Rachel Notley's party promises to adapt health services to the needs of communities by ensuring in particular that Francophones are served in French.
The New Democrats are also promising to allow Francophone organizations to benefit from their Hometown Alberta program. This will allow them, they say, to build, repair, renovate, improve or expand community facilities, including cultural, recreational and other places for public use.
The New Democratic Party is also committed to working with French-speaking communities to improve access for French-speaking newcomers to settlement and support services.
As for the United Conservative Party (PCU), it has made no promise for the Alberta Francophonie on its electoral platform. The political party has been contacted several times on this subject, but Radio-Canada has still not received an answer to its emails.
Pierre Asselin, President of the Association française-canadienne de l'Alberta (ACFA) said, however, that the organization discussed francophone priorities with the candidates of the two main parties and that everyone showed a good disposition and a positive attitude.
It puts a downside, however.
“It's nice to make promises, we'll see what happens after the election. »
— Pierre Asselin, President of the ACFA
In 2017, for example, the NDP government abolished the French Education Department of the Ministry of Education, which then had 40 employees. This was re-established under the Conservative government, with 10 employees.
We made mistakes when we were in government, acknowledges Marie Renaud, promising that if he comes to power again, the New Democratic Party will work with organizations representing Francophone communities to find out what they need ”.
Pierre Asselin, president of the French Canadian Association of Alberta (ACFA). (File photo)
Pierre Asselin also reminds the parties in the running for the May 29 provincial elections of some priority issues for Francophones.
Increase the offer of early childhood care, especially in underserved areas. “Educational spaces for early childhood are essential to ensure the transmission of the French language and culture to future generations, and thus avoid assimilation,” he emphasizes.
Develop a plan to put French-language schools on the same level as English-language schools, particularly in terms of equipment (recreational facilities, among others) and human resources.
Get the Campus Saint-Jean out of chronic underfunding, which affects its ability to offer comprehensive programs in French.
Increase Francophone immigration to restore Francophone demographic weight in Canada and in the province.
Provide health services in French, because “being served in one's language is a determining factor in the results. »
Continue to hire bilingual human resources in the judicial system so that Francophones can have access to trials in French.