Honourable senators, before we bid each other farewell for the summer, I would like to invite you to the sixth Congrès mondial acadien in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick from August 10 to 24. This is the event’s twenty-fifth anniversary.
First, some history. Back in 1988, some friends were chatting and came up with the idea of organizing a gathering of Acadians. André Boudreau accepted the challenge.
The first congress was held in 1994. The mission of that first congress was to reinforce ties among all Acadians and invite others to discover Acadia. Over 300,000 people attended discussions, concerts and other activities.
On National Acadian Day, August 15, 1994, the Acadian flag was raised in my village, Saint-Louis-de-Kent. To this day, that flag is the largest Acadian flag in the world and a source of tremendous pride to the people of Kent.
People also gathered there for an Acadian culinary experience. Seafood, meat pies, fricot, grated poutine and, of course, delicious cakes were on the menu. From August 12 to 22, 1994, in the host region of Acadie-Beauséjour, Acadia was indeed celebrating. On a more personal note, as a counsellor for one of the host municipalities at the time, I saw first-hand the impact and importance of this gathering.
The congress has always been an inclusive celebration since a different region hosts the event every year in order to reach the Acadian diaspora. Our survival depends on our young people recognizing and being proud of their Acadian roots. From Louisiana to Nova Scotia and from the Acadian Peninsula to Madawaska, Edmundston, Maine and the St. Lawrence region of Quebec, this year, the sixth Congrès mondial acadien will be back in New Brunswick and also in Prince Edward Island.
The congress officially kicks off on August 10 in Abrams Village, P.E.I., and will wrap up on August 24 in Shediac, New Brunswick.
Dear colleagues, I invite you to visit the site of the Congrès mondial Acadien. Come visit us in Acadia or, as we say in Chiac, “V’nez nous ouère en Acadie”.