The eighth AMERICANA conference, the International Environmental Technology Trade Show that was held from March 17 to 19 in Montreal, hosted some 8,000 participants representing all sectors of activity in the environmental industry, including 400 exhibitors, 230 guest speakers and delegates from 60 countries. AMERICANA 2009 provided an opportunity to take stock of the latest developments in such sectors as water, air, soil, residual materials, energy and sustainable development and to discuss such wide-ranging topics as life cycle analysis, biofuels, environmental management, sustainable development and transportation.
For the third consecutive year, the International Association of Québec Studies, thanks to a donation made by Anne-Marie Boucher, encourages projects by instructors, authors and students intended to teach non-francophones about Québec and its culture through teaching French. This year, five people received a grant.
The memorandum of agreement creating La Francophonie’s Demographic and Statistical Observatory was ratified on March 25 in Montréal in the presence of Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of the International Francophone Organization (OIF). The Observatory’s creation stems from a pledge made by Premier Jean Charest at the 12th Francophone Summit, which was held in Québec City in October 2008.
In 2008, when the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City was celebrated, residents of Mons came to Quebec City with their giants to participate in the New France Festival that takes place every summer.
The 2009-2010 budget that Minister of Finance Monique Jérôme-Forget tabled in the National Assembly on March 19 continues the deployment of the government’s action plan to promote job growth and lay the groundwork for economic recovery. Combined with other efforts that have been launched over the past few months, the measures contained in the budget mean that an addition $15 billion in cash revenues, equivalent to 4.9% of GDP, will be injected into Québec’s economy in 2009 and 2010 in order to stimulate growth. Although Québec has been less affected by the global recession than its neighbours, these initiatives to support the economy exceed the target set by the International Monetary Fund (2% of GDP) and the amount earmarked by the federal government (4.1% of GDP), and are comparable with the U.S. plan to spend 4.8% of GDP to kick-start the economy.
Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, celebrated the Moscow-Québec Centre’s 10th anniversary together with Alexey V. Isakov, Consul General of the Russian Federation in Montréal, on March 19. The Centre is the result of a cooperation agreement between Laval University and Russian State University for the Humanities in Moscow.
On March 11, the Government of Québec tabled Bill 3, called “An Act to provide for the implementation of the Entente entre le Québec et la France en matière de reconnaissance mutuelle des qualifications professionnelles and similar agreements,” in the National Assembly. The purpose of Bill 3 is to implement the agreement that Québec Premier Charest and French President Nicolas Sarkozy signed on October 17, 2008. This historic text establishes a procedure for mutual recognition of professional competence, and thus facilitates the issuing of permits to allow individuals to exercise their profession or trade in both France and Québec.
In conjunction with Montréal's Fashion Week, Montréal mayor Gérald Tremblay unveiled a new strategy entitled Montréal Freestyle (Montréal Style Libre) on March 3, together with Raymond Bachand, Minister of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade and Minister Responsible for the Montréal Region. The strategy is designed to promote Montréal as a creative fashion centre by spotlighting its expertise, artistic potential and innovative capabilities.
International Francophone Day (March 20) will have special resonance in Québec this year. Back in October 2008, Québec City welcomed 60 heads of state and delegations at the 12th Conference of Francophone Heads of State and Government. In Québec and around the world, a series of activities promoting the 2009 edition of International Francophone Day will serve to reaffirm Québec's commitment to La Francophonie.
The National, a United Arab Emirates-based daily newspaper, won 22 awards of excellence, including three silver medals, at the 30th annual Best of Newspaper Design competition. Montréal designer Lucie Lacava and her team designed the layout of the paper, which was launched last year in Abu Dhabi.
As announced at the recent Grammy awards ceremony, the complex housing the new Grammy Museum has been named the Pierre Cossette Center. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the museum pays tribute to the biggest names in music and has a special section dedicated to Mr. Cossette, a Québec native.
In conjunction with International Francophone Day (March 20), Pierre Arcand, Minister of International Relations and Minister Responsible for La Francophonie, paid tribute to singer, songwriter and performer Jean-Pierre Ferland for his outstanding contributions to the French language and Québec culture on the international stage.
Eight Québec productions will be shown at the inaugural Québec Film Festival in Haiti, which will be held in Port-au-Prince from March 19-22 in conjunction with the Quinzaine de la Francophonie. The festival receives support from the Government of Québec.