David Frechette honoured for promoting French culture

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Francophone president receives Queen's Jubilee Medal

David Frechette, who has spent his adult life promoting and contributing to his own French culture, will be honoured with two awards tonight at the annual general meeting of the Association Canadienne Francais de l’Alberta.

At the association’s gala, held at the Timm’s Centre for the Arts at the University of Alberta, Frechette will be one of 20 provincial francophones to receive the Queen’s Jubilee Medal.

“He will be the only one from St. Albert to receive that honour,” said Isabelle Laurin, of the Association Canadienne Francais de l’Alberta.

“He will receive the medal from Senator Claudette Tardiff, for his amazing contribution to the Franco-Albertan community,” Laurin said.

At the same event, Frechette will be entered as a member of the Order of Cent Associés, which is a four-centuries-old organization, which was originally begun as a fur-trading company. Now its mission is to promote francophone language and culture in North America, specifically in Canada.

“It is like the senate of francophone society, which ponders French culture. Originally 100 people were named to the order but now I believe there are more than 100,” Frechette said. He will attend his first Order of Cent AssociĂ©s’ meeting in November.

Frechette, 59, is a St. Albert businessman who runs four school buses through his company Service d’autobus frechette ltd.

He also serves as president of the Centralta chapter of the francophone association and as such is the head of the St. Albert, Morinville and Legal area.

In 1990 Frechette began working for the provincial francophone association as a government officer in Plamondon.

“He was the one who got the French Cultural Centre started in Plamondon. He also worked to get a francophone school there,” said Laurin.

Later, as the provincial officer based in Legal, Frechette worked to get funding for the community centre there, Laurin said.

Frechette has served off and on as the president of the Centralta chapter since 2002 and from 2008 to 2011 worked in conjunction with St. Albert’s 150th Anniversary Association to celebrate the French people’s contribution to the city.

“We want to promote French language and culture by whatever means we can. That means supporting the francophone schools but also working with French immersion schools. We want to bridge that gap, because the French language and culture is an endangered species in Western Canada. We must begin by working with the schools,” Frechette said.

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Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.