The Town of Bonnyville is currently not recognized as a bilingual community, but that could possibly change as the Mayor is requesting that Bonnyville be officially recognized as a Francophone community.
The Mayor says it could boost tourism for the area.
“I’m the President of the Bilingual Association of Alberta for municipalities who want to be identified as being bilingual,” Mayor Elisa Brosseau told Lakeland Connect on The Morning After segment. “In our association, we’re not saying that everybody must be bilingual to be identified as being bilingual in a municipality. What we’re saying is help us identify.”
Mayor Brosseau says, “Let’s say you’re a business and you have a worker who speaks French, or maybe you have signage or your pamphlets are bilingual.”
The Mayor would like the community to help the Town of Bonnyville identify those areas where that are bilingual. Today, more than half of the population in the world is bilingual.
“Perhaps through identifying those and showing, you know, maybe if we could show how much tourism that brings how much investment that brings,” Mayor Brosseau said. “Maybe then that spills over and then people start say, thinking, maybe there is a benefit of maybe being bilingual and, you know, I think that would be a good avenue.”
A bilingual environment provides an important level of diversity to a community. Exposing children to a diverse learning environment can encourage a message of community, understanding and respect, helping to create cultural awareness and fluency in a global context. The confidence and worldliness kids will develop by learning a second language will prove to be an asset in all settings.
Our Mayor is billingual, speaks both English & French and she says when people hear her they instantly smile.
“I speak French with my kids and even in public and when other young kids or even other adults or seniors are around,” Mayor Brosseau said. “All of a sudden when somebody hears me speaking French you just see something light up because they understand they know what you’re talking about. So again, I think maybe that spillage and you know other people might say that’s kind of neat. Maybe we want to start learning French.”
*Editor’s Note: an earlier version of this article mistakenly reported that the community was requesting to be recognized as a Francophone community. That information was incorrect. The community is seeking to be recognized as a bilingual community.