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Statement by Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada, on the awarding of the Meritorious Service Cross to Jean-Claude Mahé by the Governor General of Canada

22 June 2016

Montreal, June 23, 2016—“On behalf of my colleagues at Telefilm Canada, I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Jean-Claude Mahé, Director, Public and Governmental Affairs, who today received the Meritorious Service Cross (Civil Division) from His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada.

“During the 1980s, in Alberta, where there were no French schools, Jean-Claude Mahé was the driving force behind a group of parents who wanted their children to receive a quality education in their own language and a voice in the management of their schools and school boards. The cause, which the parents first took up at the local and provincial levels, was based on Article 23 of the then recently enacted Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The parents took their cause all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled in their favour in the Mahé v. Alberta decision in 1990. The Supreme Court’s unanimous decision profoundly altered the face of minority language education in Canada. Today, as a result of the decision, there are 28 francophone and Acadian school boards across the country as well as 650 schools attended by 150 000 francophone and Acadian students.

“Jean-Claude Mahé deserves thanks for this outcome. His well-known dedication and determination had a decisive impact on the successful resolution of this cause, a historic one for our country.

“Today at Rideau Hall, the Governor General awarded Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division) to 52 recipients, of which 17 were Meritorious Service Crosses and 35 Meritorious Service Medals. Created in 1991, the Civil Division recognizes persons who, through their outstanding actions and activities, have brought honour to their community or to Canada.

“Jean-Claude Mahé began his career at Telefilm Canada in 1996 as a consultant, organizing forums, summits and activities with the industry to promote Canadian films. He was subsequently appointed Director of Communications and Public Affairs and, in 2005, Director, Public and Governmental Affairs.

“Jean-Claude worked at the National Film Board of Canada for close to two decades, from 1978 to 1996, rising through the NFB’s ranks to hold such major positions as chief of staff, secretary of the Board, director of communications and director of international relations.”