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The Franco-Albertan Community in 1948

The publication of the Franco-Albertan community’s second almanach in December 1948 is but one of the community’s many activities during the year 1947-1948.

In January…
In January 1948, the Chambre de Commerce des jeunes de Montréal has sent some 8,000 French books to Alberta. These books are distributed by the ACFA in the various bilingual schools of the province.

On January 7th 1948, Radio-Ouest français will meet in Saskatoon. Dr Beauchemin, the current ACFA president, and Father Breton, the ACFA’s general secretary, are representing the Franco-Albertan community on that committee. A few days later, the ACFA will send out a 70 page brief to every member of the CBC Board of Governors in the hope of obtaining a permit for the proposed radio station in Alberta. The Franco-Albertan delegation which is composed of Dr Beauchemin, Me P.-E Poirier, MP Joseph Déchène and his son Me André Déchène will meet with the Governors on January 23rd  1948 in Ottawa. Unfortunately the Board will choose to delay their decision yet again.

In January 1948, the Franco-Albertan community celebrates the fact that Colonel Ernest Côté, a former resident of Edmonton’s French community, as been named a member of the permanent Canadian delegation to the United Nations.

In February…
On February 25, Me André Déchène a young Edmonton lawyer is elected secretary treasurer of the Edmonton Bar association.

In March…
On March 18 and 19, the CBC Board of Governors meet again in  Ottawa. The Francophone community is holding its breath. Will the Board finally decide to give the long-awaited permit which will allow the community to establish its own private radio station? The Franco-Albertan community will in fact be granted the long-delayed permit in March 1948.

The community’s three times a year religion exam organized by l’Association des éducateurs bilingues de l’Alberta (AEBA) is held in March of 1948.         

In April…
On April 22, the provincial Government will name L. Gareau as district agriculturalist for the newly formed Bonnyville district. Marcel Chevrette will be responsible for the Saint-Paul district.

The next day, on April 23rd a group of  62 settlers from eastern Canada arrives in Alberta. The group will settle in the Rivière-la-Paix region.

In May…
In May, M. Émile Hermary of Red Deer, a member of the ACFA since 1926, has passed away. He was a fervent supporter of the French fact in Alberta.

The Edmonton Festival de la bonne chanson is held on the 9th of May and on the 24th the community has organized a large picnic on the grounds of Collège Saint-Jean.

It is also in May that the franco-albertan students will write the yearly Concours de Français organized by the AEBA. Every student’s final result is published in the French newspaper La Survivance at the end of August.

On May 12, the ACFA has received a letter from the Ottawa informing the community leaders that the Department of Federal Transport accepts the CBC Board of Governors’ recommendation to grant a radio permit to the Franco-Albertan community. A few days later, representatives from several franco-albertan parishes will meet to discuss the long-awaited creation of the French radio station in Edmonton.

In June…
In early June, the College Saint-Jean alumni will meet and the last of the AEBA’s religion exam is written by the franco-albertan students.

Since March 1948, the establishment of the French radio station is the most important question on everyone’s mind. On June 10th , the French speaking clergy of Alberta will meet in order to organize a province wide fund raising campaign. Mgr Routhier who has been named committee chair will travel to the Rivière-la-Paix region the following week. A similar meeting is held in Morinville a few days later. The fund raising campaign is launched on June 21 when some fifty delegates from Edmonton and the surrounding areas meet in the Immaculée-Conception parish hall under the presidency of Dr Mousseau the current ACFA president. Elsewhere in Alberta, the Plamondon region has just held its first fund-raising meeting. The Saint-Paul fund-raising meeting is held on June 28th  under the presidency of M. Chevrette the local district agriculturalist. In Bonnyville M. B.J. Dessureault is named chair of that region’s fund-raising committee.

In July….
The fund-raising campaign is going very well and the first reports indicate that as of the 19th of July approximately 30,000$ has already been raised.

The members of the Association des éducateurs bilingues de l’Alberta (AEBA) also take advantage of the summer break to meet and share ideas. More than 100 franco-albertan teachers from every regions of the province attend the annual AEBA meeting held in July 1948. Mgr Routhier is one of the special guest. That year, one of the features of the annual meeting is a brochure entitled “Nos traditions nationales” prepared by the  AEBA.

In August…
The regional agricultural fair is held in Rivière-la-Paix on August 4th. The 12th of the same month, the members of the Franco-Albertan community are happy to learn that a new diocese has just been created in Saint-Paul and that Mgr Maurice Baudoux formerly of Prud’homme Saskatchewan has been named as the first bishop. Everyone in Alberta remembers the important role that Mgr Baudoux has played in the establishment of the French radio station CHFA.

And in fact, the whole question of French radio is still very much an issue in August 1948. Early reports of the fund-raising campaign indicated that some $ 30,000 had already been raised in July. A month later the amount has grown to $70,000 and the ACFA and Father Breton have bought two lots on Jasper Avenue in order to build the new studios.

But August is also a time for travel. A “voyage de liaison” has been organized by the Société canadienne d’Établissement rural and a group of 30 travelers is visiting all of Alberta’s francophone regions. The trip is a great success.

On the provincial scene, the Hon Lucien Maynard, the province’s Attorney general and M J.W. Beaudry have been reelected.

Elsewhere in Alberta, Saint-Paul’s  old Father Le Claiche is celebrating  his 50th anniversary in the priesthood.

In September…
The opening of the Quebec exposition is held on September 2nd and for the third consecutive year, the Franco-Albertan community has organized a kiosk under the direction of the agriculturalist J.M. Fontaine. The Francophone newspaper La Survivance has taken advantage of the occasion to publish a special edition. Some 10,000 special edition copies of La Survivance are distributed to the Québécois during the exposition

In September 1948, the community is celebrating the successes of many young Franco-Albertans. Mlle Carmen Marcotte from Bonnyville has been awarded a bursary by the Alberta Department of Education. Geneviève Gourdine has won a silver medal awarded by the Royal Music Conservatory of Toronto for her work as a violinist. Sylvain Lefebvre successfully completed a BED degree and two music prizes were award to Falher’s L. Dusseault and A. Émard. Madeleine Turcotte of Edmonton received the bursary offered by the Edmonton based youth group Les Bonnes amies.

In October…
In October, the Bonnyville franco-albertans teachers organized a regional AEBA meeting on the 12th and 13th. The Rivière-la-Paix teachers will meet on the 16th  of the same month.

The celebrations marking the establishment of the new Saint-Paul Diocese and the consecration of Mgr Maurice Baudoux as the diocese’s first bishop are held on October 28th . His Excellency Monseigneur Ildebrando Antoniutti, the Canadian apostolic delegate, is presiding Mgr Baudoux’s consecration. On October 27th  an official reception was held in the Saint- Paul cathedral to mark the visit of the Pope’s representative. Mgr Baudoux’s first pontifical mass is held on October 29th. 

Saint-Paul was formerly an Oblate Parish established in 1909 and the Saint-Paul cathedral was build in 1930. In 1948, the year of its creation, the Saint-Paul diocese includes some 20,000 Catholics, 22 secular priests and 21 regular clergy working in 32 parishes with resident priest, 37 missions with permanent churches and 25 missions without permanent churches. The diocese also includes 17 convents and 7 hospitals where a great number of nuns belonging to 12 different religious communities are working.

In November…
In November 1948, Mgr Boudoux will officiate at the Saint-Paul diocese’s first ordination. Brother Duchesneau, a former student of Collège Saint-Jean, has been ordained the region’s first priest.

The French newspaper La Survivance celebrates its 20th anniversary on November 20th 1948,

In December…
Gédéon Pepin the well-known organist and choir master of the Saint-Joachim parish celebrates his 60th anniversary as the parishes choir master on December 1st.

In December 1948 the ACFA will hire M. Dione as an agriculturalist solely assigned to work with Alberta’s franco-albertan farmers. M. Dione was formerly employed as an agriculturalist for the Quebec Department of Agriculture. That same month the ACFA also hires CHFA’s first station manager, M. Romain Leclair…

And everywhere in Alberta the Franco-Albertan community continues to work and to progress…

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