Friar Speaks at World Urban Forum

Jacques LaPointe Features

Jacques LaPointe was selected to be part of the official Canadian delegation at the U.N. World Urban Forum 3 in Vancouver, Canada. The event was held from June 21 to 26. Over 135 countries were represented at the conference.

Jacques spoke to the delegates about the rural immigration model that he is presently putting in place in his hometown of Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick. The project originated with Jacques’s involvement with Afghan and Pakastani refugees passing through the Franciscan Chapel Center in Japan, where he was on assignment for three years in the 1990s.

Following his return from Japan, Jacques was involved with the African and Haitian communities at St. Camillus Parish. There a new francophone Catholic community was founded under the blessings of Marie-Reine-du-Monde. From this community, Jacques started a small immigration program in rural French-speaking New Brunswick.

This initial step led to his working with the New Brunswick provincial government in setting up a first-of-a-kind rural immigration program. This program is now the Canadian model for rural immigration. It is being funded through the provincial and federal government.

Jacques’s model has now attracted international attention, from the U.N., UNESCO and from other countries, such as France and Norway.

The Canadian delegation to the World Forum consisted of a representative from the city of Toronto, the city of Edmonton, the city of Halifax, as well as representatives from the Metropolis Project, Infrastructure Canada, UNESCO and the town of Saint-Léonard, New Brunswick (represented by Jacques).

Jacques spoke about the importance of recognizing the importance of diversity across all dimensions of community life, from the economic and political to the social and cultural. His conference focused on local strategies towards the inclusion of diverse citizenries. He also shared the experience of his own case study in Saint-Léonard.