Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 - The Acadian Flag
The Acadian Flag
Hon. Rose-May Poirier: Honourable senators, in early October, I had the pleasure of attending a book launch for Histoire du drapeau acadien, a book about the history of the Acadian flag.
This initiative was undertaken by the municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Kent and successfully carried out thanks to the work of two Acadian historians, Maurice Basque and André Duguay. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate everyone involved in producing this book.
The municipality of Saint-Louis-de-Kent calls itself the birthplace of the Acadian flag because it was conceived and created in that small town. In 1884, Monsignor Marcel-François Richard, son of a farmer in the Saint-Louis-de-Kent region, was getting ready to attend the second Acadian convention, which was being held in Miscouche on Prince Edward Island.
The convention was planning to adopt a flag to represent and unite Acadians around the world. Monsignor Richard thought about it for a long time and came up with a wonderful idea. He asked a young lady from Saint-Louis-de-Kent, the young schoolmistress, Marie Babineau, to make a prototype.
When he got to Miscouche, Monsignor Richard explained the flag this way: for Acadians, the flag simply reminds us that we are French and that France is our motherland, just as the Irish flag reminds the Irish of their origin and motherland. I would like Acadia to have a flag that reminds us that we are not only children of France, but that we are also Acadian. The tricolour flag will represent Acadia by adding a yellow star to the blue part, yellow to represent the papacy and a star to represent Mary.
The delegation adopted the flag and, that night in a meeting room, people expressed great pleasure and pride in the choice of the flag. That first Acadian flag is now on display at the Université de Moncton's Acadian museum.
From that day, our flag has been carried far and wide and, on two occasions, has travelled around the world: in 1996, aboard the space shuttle Endeavour, and in 1998, aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Today, the largest Acadian flag in the world is flown in Saint-Louis-de-Kent. It is 30 feet high by 60 feet wide and is flown on a 130-foot pole. This giant flag welcomes and guides all people in the region and visitors from around the world.
As it flutters in the wind, the Acadian flag is a symbol of the Acadian people's journey. Even today, it continues to gather Acadians from all over the world under one emblem. The flag is 130 years old and will be proudly displayed at the reunions to be held as part of the World Acadian Congress. This would never have happened without the courage and vision of our ancestors, such as Monsignor François Richard.
Should you ever be travelling through New Brunswick, I invite you, honourable senators, to enjoy the small Acadian treasure of the village of Saint-Louis-de-Kent.