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  1. The Governor General of Canada
  2. Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette
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Visit to the New Cercle Molière Theatre

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Visit to the New Cercle Molière Theatre

Saint Boniface, Saturday, June 19, 2010

My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I are delighted to join you just a few days before the official opening of the new Cercle Molière theatre.

My husband is especially pleased, as he is also a man of the theatre.

Here in Saint Boniface, Gabrielle Roy’s presence is everywhere, and I remember that it was while reading one of this author’s works—an author I am particularly find of—that I first discovered the existence of the Cercle Molière, the oldest theatre troupe in Canada, a French-language troupe at that!

At the end of her life, Gabrielle Roy, in reminiscing about her first experiences in the theatre, wrote that, and I quote, “such remarkable talents flowered in our stony soil.”

Talents that have only continued to increase—as evidenced by the long theatre tradition you have nourished here—and have helped root the French language and culture in the hearts of Manitoba’s Francophones and Francophiles.

Because those talents were, and continue to be, animated by a passion for artistic expression, by a deep commitment to the Francophone cause and by unfailing determination.

I am referring especially to you, Mr. Mahé, you who has directed the fate of this theatre for over 40 years and who made it a professional company.

I am told you are only the fourth person to direct this theatre since its creation in 1925, and that you are certainly setting the record for longevity.

Like you, your team and so many others who have supported you, I believe the time has come for the Cercle Molière to have a space that is better suited to its needs, a facility with cutting-edge equipment.

After ten years of hard work and effort, here you are in a new theatre, in the heart of the French Quarter. And we are delighted to be here with you to celebrate this impressive accomplishment.

Despite all the obstacles you faced along the way, you have successfully continued to create and live in French, and you have every reason to be proud.

You have welcomed La Francophonie is all its diversity, and in return, it has played a large role in your development and is today one of your greatest strengths.

You have enriched your province and the entire country with your contribution to Canadian culture and to La Francophonie.

We are here to tell you: carry on and never give up.

You can always count on our support.

We must keep this language alive, the language we love, a language that is rich in multiple, beautiful accents, a language that carries our backgrounds and our experiences, tells our stories and expresses our aspirations.

And one of the best ways to do this, as the Cercle Molière reminds us so well, is to make French a central part of our lives and our cultural choices.

That is, to speak it, to write in it, to sing in it, to defend it and to celebrate it.

And language, as we know, is so much more than an emblem.

It is a value, it is a treasure.

Your vitality is one of the greatest resources of humanity’s cultural heritage.

Congratulations, and thank you for welcoming me in your community, a community that is so proud of its history, but also turned towards the future.

Long live the Cercle Molière!