Canada/Four municipalities join the Manitoba Association of Bilingual Municipalities

Published on 19/04/2024 | La rédaction


The municipalities of Grey, Sainte-Anne, Piney and Lorne will soon become members of the Association des municipalités bilingues du Manitoba (AMBM).

Piney Reeve Wayne Anderson says this isn't the first time his municipality has tried to join the AMBM.

About six or seven years ago, the AMBM approached us to see if we wanted to join," he explains. But it turned out that our French-speaking population wasn't large enough at the time for us to join, even though we expressed our wish to do so.

He adds that, since that time, the AMBM has changed its policy to allow municipalities with fewer French-speaking residents to join.

We have maybe 10-15% Francophones here, and there's no reason why we can't offer services in both French and English to make things better for everyone," he says.

Different levels of support

AMBM CEO Justin Johnson says the regions involved are working to adopt the appropriate bylaws to provide services in both official languages.

We're looking forward to welcoming these new members and equipping them to take concrete action with the support and services provided by the AMBM," he says.

He adds that these four municipalities will have access to the same tools offered to current AMBM members.

Justin Johnson points out that these tools are offered as part of a model designed to support the development of Francophone and bilingual communities within municipalities.

Municipalities will therefore be able to provide services in both official languages as and when required, without having to spend a lot of money.

Wayne Anderson believes that the AMBM will help his municipality in a number of ways.

The most interesting thing is that we don't have to spend a lot of money changing our bylaws and things like that all at once," he says. For example, if we adopt a new bylaw, we can send it to the AMBM so they can translate it into French and put it on our website.

The association provides these translations free of charge, so there's no additional cost to residents," he adds.

The richness of language

Richard Pelletier, Reeve of the Rural Municipality of Sainte-Anne, says his community decided to join the AMBM to preserve the French language.

Having two languages, especially the French language in Manitoba, and keeping it, is a richness, a privilege," he says.

He adds that it's all the more important to reach out to other bilingual and French-speaking municipalities because Manitoba is predominantly English-speaking.

If there are a lot of Francophones in Manitoba who pay attention and raise their voices to keep the French language, that's going to invite people from the east and Francophones from elsewhere to come and settle in Manitoba," says Mr. Pelletier.

This view is shared by David Beaudry, a Piney city councillor.

He explains that all the members of the municipal council were in favor of joining the AMBM, and that preserving the French language is a priority for everyone.

Many young people have lost the French language.

A quote from David Beaudry, Piney town councillor

I think the Association des municipalités bilingues is ready to help if there are challenges in this regard," he concludes.


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