Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Francophone diversity celebrated

Blandine Kaniki performs at 
Francophonie celebration
While Francophonie Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the depth and richness of francophone communities and cultures, the sad plight of many Franco-African countries remains a cause for concern, Dr. Eric Pierre said in the keynote address at the annual March 20 event at police headquarters. 

“We need to try to understand and discuss with honesty the extreme poverty in these countries,” Haiti’s honourary consul general said. “Mali, for example, has tremendous natural wealth for its citizens to enjoy a high quality of life. It is rich in gold, oil and uranium, yet the country’s population lives in one of the world’s poorest conditions. As Francophonie, we must be concerned by this unacceptable state of affairs.”

20130320_francophone02.jpgDeputy Chief Mark Saunders represented Chief Bill Blair at the third Francophonie event the Service has hosted.

“The Toronto Police Service is committed to our city’s diversity and we have made a sincere effort to create that diversity within this working environment to better reflect the community we work for,” said Saunders.

Nearly 660 sworn and unsworn members speak French.

Toronto Police Service Board chair Dr. Alok Mukherjee said the Board and the Service are committed to ensuring the organization truly reflects and incorporates all of the groups that make up the community. He also recognized the Service’s French Consultative Committee and its members for their help in ensuring that the TPS commitment to the inclusive delivery of services and employment practices includes Toronto’s French-speaking community.

“Our lives here have been enriched by many contributions of the French-speaking people of the world in so many spheres,” he wrote in an address to the celebration.

“…If the world today is more democratic, free and equal, it’s due a great deal to the ideas enunciated by the French-speaking world. For this, we are extremely grateful.”

Mukherjee also paid tribute to Pierre – a dentist by profession – for ensuring that the internal diversity of the city’s Francophone community is understood.
Established in 1970, International Francophonie Day celebrates the French language and diversity in French-speaking countries, including Canada.

The Service’s French Consultative Committee is one of the original six Chief’s Consultative Committees and its membership reflects the diversity of the French culture.
Kristina Kijewski and Gerard Parent co-chair the FCC that also includes Const. Isabelle Cotton of the Divisional Policing Support Unit, Chantal Desioges, Adolphine Mukamanzi, Shannon Kampf, Stefan Koci, Eric Mukandila, Valerie Sniadoch, Natalie Levesque, Adra Berezintsev and Mayer Elharar Students from Saint-Jean-de-Lalande Elementary Catholic School sang the national anthem and provided musical entertainment while Fumu Jahmez and Blandine Kaniki performed songs and dances.

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