Fonds PR0015 - Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta fonds

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Association canadienne-française de l’Alberta fonds

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    • Source of title proper: Title based on the content of the records.

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    • 1912-2012 (Creation)

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    115.16 m of textual records and other material

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    On December 13, 1925, the Cercle Jeanne d'Arc, supported by the Chevaliers de Colomb (Knights of Columbus), organized a conference for 400 Franco-Albertans at the Hotel Macdonald in Edmonton to discuss the creation of a French provincial association. A temporary committee was formed at that first meeting and given the responsibility of attending to all aspects of French culture in Alberta, including religious, moral, social, intellectual and economic life. However, its chief concern was education and the survival of the Francophone community's identity in Alberta. This temporary committee was responsible for drafting an organizational constitution. The document was completed on July 12, 1926. It was ratified at the organization's first general meeting and marked the establishment of the Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta (ACFA).

    Initially the ACFA was made up of parish associations governed by a head office in Edmonton. Parishes would send one delegate to the annual general meeting for every 25 dollars received in contributions to the head office. Although the annual meetings were open to all Franco-Albertans, the fact that they were held in Edmonton made it difficult for members outside the capital region to contribute. In addition, because the ACFA was based on parish affiliation, cities with several parishes had a greater say in the organization's overall policy and direction. Consequently, in its early years the ACFA was controlled by Alberta's urban centres: Edmonton, and to a lesser extent, Calgary. In order to counteract this disparity the constitution was amended in 1930 to allow remote centres to form committees composed of representatives from parish associations. The first regional reorganization took place in Peace River. Then in 1961 the ACFA decided to separate the regional associations from their parishes and instead organized them according to their location and density of the French population. These new regional associations would later incorporate individually, allowing them to become semiautonomous from the parent organization.

    In 1928, following a disagreement with the French newspaper L'Union, the ACFA decided to start its own weekly newspaper called La Survivance. It would become the primary communication tool between the organization's representatives and its membership. As such, it represented the ACFA's attempt to solidify the Francophone identity and forge closer ties between various groups of Francophones throughout the province.

    During the 1920s and 1930s the ACFA's membership began to decline. This was due to the general move away from parish associations for entertainment and community recreation. The Francophone community began to seek inclusion in the larger English society of Alberta, causing the traditional French parish branches to lose their importance. Instead of gathering at the community church for recreational activities, Franco-Albertans were, in increasing numbers, taking part in the more diverse cultural activities of the English community. Beyond the obvious problems this presented for the Francophone community with respect to cultural assimilation, the drift away from the parish as the foundation of the French identity affected the ACFA's ability to secure membership and notably membership fees. The Great Depression compounded the situation, all but decimating the association. By the end of the Depression, the ACFA's membership had reorganized itself. Ordinary members, who had previously resisted the system that transferred control to urban elites in Edmonton and Calgary, had drifted away from the organization. In their place the elites remained, leaving the organization composed primarily of people from medical and legal backgrounds.

    In addition to discussions with government, the ACFA showed its commitment to education by setting up organizations concerned with French language instruction in schools. In 1926 the ACFA founded the Association des instituteurs bilingues de l'Alberta (AIBA) and helped establish the Association des commissaires bilingues de l'Alberta (ACBA). The ACFA also set up French libraries and an inspection and visit system for French and bilingual schools. However, in keeping with its goal to aid in all aspects of Francophone life in Alberta, the ACFA turned its attention to the membership's economic and agricultural concerns. It helped develop credit unions, first in Calgary, and by 1963 there were 16 French credit unions across Alberta. In 1997 the ACFA opened La Chambre économique de l'Alberta, which provided a full range of economic services to the Francophone community.

    In the 1930s and 1940s the ACFA organized its annual meetings around specific themes. For example in 1939 the theme was cooperatives and in 1941 it was problems relating to colonization. However, the messages tended to be overshadowed by the political intrigue and anti-French fanaticism of the larger community. In 1949, in response to these realities, the ACFA established CHFA, a French radio station aimed at countering anti-French and assimilationist influences.

    During the 1950s the ACFA experienced a funding crisis. Its popularity had started to wane, causing donations to decline. The ACFA responded by setting up satellite organizations that not only helped Francophones but also benefitted the ACFA. The first such organization was the Almanach francoalbertain, established in 1959 along with Assurance-vie Desjardins and the Service de sécurité familiale. Then in 1965 a system of general insurance companies was introduced with the help of Securité du Canada (insurance company). These institutions would provide funding for programming.The 1960s was a decade of important gains for Alberta's Francophone community in terms of advocacy and education rights. In 1964 the ACFA was incorporated by a provincial act, which solidified the organization as an entity tied to its charter and capable of existing independently of its board and membership.

    In 1968 the organization's lobbying led to legislation allowing French to be the language of instruction in public schools 50% of the time. In 1976 it was increased to 80%. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, signed in 1982, gave all Canadians the right to instruction in French, thereby allowing all French schools to receive public funds. From that point on the ACFA's activities relating to education shifted from lobbying for concessions to protecting rights and facilitating education. The creation of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada in 1969, later to become the Department of Canadian Heritage, provided the organization with funding to broaden its mandate, allowing the ACFA to take a more active role in providing cultural activities.

    At the provincial level the ACFA's administration is composed of an elected Board of Directors and an Executive Committee. It offers services to regional associations in Wood Buffalo, Plamondon/Lac La Biche, Peace River, Grande Prairie, Bonnyville/Cold Lake, Saint-Paul, Centralta, Edmonton, Jasper, Red Deer, Calgary, Lethbridge and other local centres. The ACFA's mission is to rally the living forces of society in order to protect gains, advance rights and enhance the vitality of Alberta's Francophone community.

    The ACFA's past presidents include: Joseph-Étienne Amyot (1926–1927), Adéodat Boileau (1927–1928), Jean-Louis Petitclerc (1928–1932), Lucien Dubuc (1932–1934), Léon-Omer Beauchemin (1934–1946), Louis-Phillipe Mousseau (1946–1952), Joseph-Oreux Pilon (1952–1955), André Miville Déchène (1955–1962), Louis A. Desrochers (1962–1964), Lucien Maynard (1964–1966), Joseph Moreau (1966–1967), Gérard Diamond (1967–1969), Roger Motut (1969–1971, 1978–1980), Jules Van Brabant (1971–1973), François McMahon (1973–1975), Hervé Durocher (1975–1977), Jean-Paul Bugeaud (1977–1978), Roger Lalonde (1980–1982), Gaston Renaud (1982–1983), Guy Goyette (1983–1985), Myriam Laberge (1985–1986), Georges Arès (1986–1989), France Levasseur-Ouimet (1989–1991), Denis Tardif (1991–1993), Paul Denis (1993–1995), John Moreau (1995–1997), Louisette Villeneuve (1998–1999), Suzanne Dalziel (2000–2001), Ernest Chauvet (2001–2004) , Jean Johnson (2004–2009) et Dolorèse Nolette (2009–2013), Jean Johnson (2013-2017), Albert Nolette (2017), Marc Arnal (2017-2019), Sheila Risbud is the current president (2020-).

    Custodial history

    Scope and content

    The fonds consists of records from national, provincial, regional and local levels. A large extent of the fonds consists of administrative and financial papers, minutes, correspondence and publications pertaining to the ACFA and organizations with close associations to the ACFA.
    Included in the fonds are thirteen sous-fonds. These sous-fonds are related to the regional offices of the ACFA, including: Bonnyville/Cold Lake, Calgary/Banff, Centralta, Red Deer, Edmonton, Grande Prairie, Jasper, Plamondon/Lac-la-Biche, Rivière-la-Paix, Saint-Paul, Wood Buffalo, Lethbridge/Medicine Hat, and Provisoires et general.
    The fonds is divided into sixteen series, including: Administration, Comptabilité, Commission culturelle, Éducation, Information/Politique, Développement communautaire, Procès-verbaux, Autres organismes, Histoire, Comités, Correspondance, Mémoires/Études/Rapports, Activités, Circulaires et Publications, Sessions/Stages/Colloques/Projets, and Cause judiciaire. The administration series is divided into five sub-series, including : Membres, Exécutif, Conseils généraux, Bureau des presidents, and Personnel. The procès-verbaux series is divided into three sub-series, including : Congrès/Assemblés générales annuelles, Réunions, and Rond Point. The Autres organismes series has been divided into two sub-series, including : Interieur de l’Alberta and Extérieur de l’Alberta. The histoire series has one sub-series, Personnalités.

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    Physical condition

    Immediate source of acquisition

    The Association canadienne-française de l'Alberta donates inactive records on a regular basis to the Provincial Archives of Alberta.


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        Most records are in French.

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        Access Conditions: Some records are restricted.

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        Use Conditions: Permission for use required. Subject to the Copyright Act.

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        File list is available.

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        Further accruals are expected.

        General note

        Includes the following accessions:

        PR1969.0215, PR1980.0226, PR1984.0387, PR1985.0292, PR1985.0360, PR1985.0457, PR1986.0156, PR1986.0242, PR1987.0015, PR1987.0222, PR1988.0243, PR1989.0055, PR1989.0391, PR1990.0580, PR1991.0296, PR1992.0031, PR1992.0379, PR1995.0458, PR1996.0416, PR1996.0639, PR1996.0640, PR1997.0496, PR1998.0209, PR1998.0899, PR2000.0036, PR2001.0221, PR2004.0951, PR2005.0397, PR2006.0318, PR2009.0661, PR2011.0014, PR2011.0124, PR2011.0529, PR2012.0330, PR2012.0354, PR2012.0394, PR2013.0127, PR2013.0669, PR2013.0670, PR2014.2104, PR2014.2193.

        Physical description

        The fonds also includes 2674 photographs, 18 transparencies, 636 negatives, 110 hours audio reels, 1037 hours audio cassettes, 21 audio discs, 64 hours videotapes, 9 paintings, 36 Compact Discs: data, 10 DVDs, 18 scrapbooks, 32 floppy disks 3 ¼, 5 technical drawings, 1 poster.

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