EDMUNDSTON, N.B. - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has announced that a francophone educator and engineer will be the new lieutenant governor of New Brunswick.
Harper released the news that Jocelyne Roy-Vienneau will take on the role while he was attending the opening ceremonies of the World Acadian Congress Friday in Edmundston.
Roy-Vienneau, who sits on the boards of a number of Acadian community organizations, has been the vice president at the University of Moncton's Shippagan campus since 2005.
Prior to that, she was the assistant deputy minister of post-secondary education in New Brunswick's Department of Education.
She also held several positions at the New Brunswick Community College in Bathurst, including director general and dean of education.
Her career began as a project engineer at the Esso Imperial Oil Ltd. refinery in Montreal after becoming one of the University of Moncton's first female engineering graduates.
The World Acadian Congress attracts thousands, with events in Edmundston scheduled to close Aug. 24.
In 1755, more than 10,000 Acadians were forced from their land in the Maritimes by the British for refusing to swear oaths of allegiance. Thousands died during the deportation, and while some returned after 1763, many established new homes as far away as Louisiana.
The congress was formed in 1994 and held its first gathering among nine municipalities in southeast New Brunswick as families and friends reunited. It has been held every five years since, with gatherings in Louisiana in 1999, and across the entire province of Nova Scotia in 2004.
The last congress in 2009 was held in Caraquet, N.B., and attracted more than 20,000 visitors to the area.
In his remarks at this year's congress on Friday, Harper paid tribute to the Acadian culture.
"As the prime minister of Canada, it's a great honour for me to participate in the opening of this meeting of the Acadian diaspora.
"I noted that the World Acadian Congress meets every five years. Five years is the maximum term for a parliamentary mandate in Canada. One can do many things in a mandate if one has a clear objective, solid principles, a determined team and the support of one's compatriots," he said in French.
"That's what's been shown ... since 1881 if you go back to the first national convention of Acadians."
Harper also lauded the Acadian spirit.
"Faith, patriotism, solidarity are stronger than adversity and isolation," he said.
© Coast Reporter